Event Date 15 March 2013
173 Euston Road
London NW1 2BJ
Public talk by Alexis Tsipras (head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group, and Leader of the Opposition) with a brief introduction by Tony Benn
The London branch of SYRIZA is putting on a public talk by Alexis Tsipras – the head of the SYRIZA parliamentary group, and Leader of the Opposition with a brief introduction by Tony Benn.
Unfortunately, Tony Benn could not attend due to ill health, so his statement was read out by Paul Mackney (Co-Chair Greek Solidarity Campaign)
Syriza UK invites you to join an event on the Greek crisis and current developments
Location: ULU, Malet Suite 7,Malet St, London WC1E 7HY
19.00 – 21.00
As the social tensions in Greece continue to intensify there is a real possibility that SYRIZA may form the next government in that country. Stathis Kouvelakis, speaking at the Socialist Resistance seminar on broad parties, describes how the party has come to hegemonise the Greek left. Click on the link to watch the video:
The Greek people had a difficult decision to make. They had to choose between two diverse groups of parties: a group of moderate parties from center-right to center-left which gave first priority for Greece to stay in the euro zone and renegotiate its bailout terms as far as this is realistically possible; and a group of extremist populist parties of ultra-left and ultra-right, giving their first priority for Greece to free itself from the bailout terms even at the cost of losing its euro zone membership status.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Supporters of Alexis Tsipras, the head of Syriza, celebrate outside the political party’s election tent after beating the Pasok party in the parliamentary elections in Athens, Greece, on Sunday, May 6, 2012.
The basic argument for the first group was fear for the uncertainty of an isolated Greece—without allies and lenders, bankrupt and ill-reputed, suffering extreme poverty and civil unrest. The basic argument for the second group was the supposed strategic advantage of a Greece willing to play Sampson ready to commit suicide crying “Let me die with the Philistines!”
Fortunately the Greek people did not fall for the gimmicks of the last group despite the unprecedented momentum of the leading party of this group, the left-wing Syriza. Syriza managed to get 17 percent of the vote in the May 6 elections, an impressive result given its 4.6 performance in 2009. Moreover, in the June 17 elections Syriza reached 27 percent—a 60 percent increase in 40 days. Greece was literally saved by the bell.
Well, not exactly. First of all “saved” is an exaggeration. The alternative to Syriza was a prospective post-election coalition of the conservative party, New Democracy, the social democratic Pasok and the moderate Democratic Left. Pasok and New Democracy are the two parties mostly responsible for the Greek mess. Read the rest of this entry »
Greek elections: a most fragile victory of the ruling class whilst Syriza is enormously strengthened (Part A)Posted: June 19, 2012
Written by Editorial Board of Marxistiki Foni
Marxist Voice greek newpaper/e-paper, and of ‘Epanastasi’ Revolution greek magazine
Athens, Monday, 18 June 2012
The Greek and international bourgeois media orchestrated a huge terror campaign, painting a picture of economic chaos and collapse if Syriza were to win the elections. Thus by a small margin New Democracy (ND) scraped into first place. However, the rise of Syriza, despite all this, indicates the continuing shift to the Left in Greek society. Now ND will attempt to form a coalition government with the PASOK, and possibly with the other political expressers of the ruling class, which will be one of continued austerity. Nothing has been solved; the problem has only been postponed. All the conditions are being prepared for a victory of Syriza in the near future. Here we publish an analysis on the elections, written by Greek Marxists in SYN and Syriza in the course of today.
Antonis Samaras, leader of New Democracy. Photo: Νέα Δημοκρατία
The results of yesterday’s parliamentary elections are a “fragile” political victory for the Greek ruling class. Meanwhile we see a massive shift of the working masses towards Syriza in the major cities, among the working class, the very young and the productive. Among these layers there was a veritable avalanche of support for Syriza
Photography by Aggelos Kalodoukas
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Greek Democracy will never be the same after this turbulent month
BY ALEX ANDREOU Originally Published at The New Statesman 18 JUNE 2012 8:45
I am grateful to expert Louise Mensch, who once had a Greek Salad from Waitrose, for analysing the result of yesterday’s election so that I can grasp it.She said: “When push comes to shove, the Greek people voted for austerity and sanity. Are you listening, Labour?” Obviously I cannot compete with this sort of laser-like analysis, which would reduce Shakespeare’s Othello to “interracial marriages just don’t work”. But try, I must.
It is difficult to give you a sense of the tectonic plate shift which has taken place in the Greek political geology in the last few years. If you can imagine, between now and 2015, the Tories dropping thirty-two percentage points, the LibDems disappearing into seventh place with less than 5 per cent, the BNP securing 18 MPs, the Greens emerging from nowhere to become the main opposition and the prospect of a Tory/Labour coalition, you may get a taste.
Let us put aside the facile notion that a fragmented election result is “not decisive”. It is, in many ways, a healthier expression of democracy than what has happened in Greece for the last 50 years – a polarised sharing of 80 per cent of the vote between two major parties who swap power every few years. It is as valid a decision as any other. In the case of Sunday’s election, it says loudly and clearly “we trust none of you unfettered or unsupervised”. Given the history of corruption and mismanagement which has brought my country to its knees, it seems to me a perfectly sensible position.
The nominal victors are the New Democracy right-of-centre party. With 29.6 per cent of the vote, 2.7 per cent ahead of radical left SYRIZA, they have secured the much coveted “bonus” which, under Greek electoral rules, gives the top party an additional 50 MPs. This leaves them in the unenviable position of having to form a coalition and drive forward with the austerity package. To add to their woes, the most likely coalition partner (both in numerical terms and being pro-austerity) is the left-of-centre PASOK; their sworn enemies for a generation. PASOK, who were in power three years ago with 44 per cent, now languish on a paltry 12.5 per cent of the vote. Their fall from grace is truly astounding. The Communist KKE party has been obliterated into seventh place with less than 5 per cent. Other assorted new, coalition or independent parties have largely lost out too, as the vote became concentrated around New Democracy and SYRIZA.
SYRIZA is the real winner. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jerome Roos
Originally Posted at Roarmag.org 17 Jun 2012 http://roarmag.org/
The pro-bailout right may have won the Greek elections, but as a powerful opposition force, the Left may yet be more subversive than in government.
The nightmare continues. Greece and the world will wake up tomorrow to headlines proclaiming yet another Pyrrhic victory for the Monsters. In the end, the sustained blackmail campaign of the neoliberal prophets of doom proved more effective than Tsipras’ radical message of hope. With the pro-bailout Nea Dimokratia edging in a narrow victory over the anti-bailout Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the disastrous EU/IMF-imposed austerity memorandum appears to have survived yet another major popular challenge.
Yet while I wholeheartedly sympathize with those who mourn SYRIZA’s defeat — including some of my (anarchist!) friends in Athens — I can’t help but feel that these results might actually be the best outcome for both Greece and the Left. Not because we somehow fear taking power, as Žižek falsely argued, but first and foremost because, in the context of a collapsing state, this power would have been illusory to begin with — and secondly, and most importantly, because this illusory power would have been the surest way to disarming the Left.
It is no coincidence that stern rumors have been doing the rounds in Greece over the past weeks that many in SYRIZA, including its leader, Alexis Tsipras, actually preferred for Nea Dimokratia to win and form a new government. As Krugman put it in rather simplistic and unflattering terms, “there’s a meme in Greece to the effect that Syriza didn’t really want to win, because it would rather see the current government flail some more.” The Guardian cites analysts saying that Tsipras “was exactly where he wanted to be: ‘a close second’.” Read the rest of this entry »
By Nikolas Kosmatopoulos
The Greek elite have new scapegoats – society’s wretched and defenceless: immigrants, prostitutes and the
poor.Greek fascist groups have begun to target the country’s ‘wretched and defenceless’ [AFP]
New York, NY – Were one to write a pre-election analysis in the glorious days of Greece’s ancien regime, one would most probably have to present and analyse the political positions of the main competing parties. Yet, this is one of the most outdated things one might want to do if one intends to say anything useful about Greece today. In fact, no-one expects to learn anything new from the traditionally televised debates among politicians (no doubt that this disillusionment should be regarded as one positive outcome of the “crisis”). Alas, there are still many hopes regarding the outcome of the elections.
The old anarchist slogan that inspired this article’s title has gained urgent actuality in Greece. Spray-painted with black and red letters on random walls throughout the urban landscape, its bold message stands in alarming contrast to the empty utterances by the talking heads now standing for election. For a long time, the most insightful and inspiring quotes about the political situation in Greece have totally eclipsed the manifestos of technocrats and the reports of journalists. Hope and insights, endurance and critique, are more likely to be expressed through red and black graffiti than in the speeches made by experts. Read the rest of this entry »
Tsipras has said he’ll try to keep Greece in the euro while pledging to cancel austerity measures
Alexis Tsipras is betting he can have it all. The leader of Greece’s Syriza party aims to win over voters by promising an end to punishing austerity while keeping the European Union’s financial-aid flowing.
“We have no sense that European partners will follow this tactic of blackmail heard from some quarters and stop funding,” Tsipras, whose party is vying for first place in polls before June 17 elections, said in an interview in Athens yesterday with Bloomberg Television. “Something like that would be catastrophic not only for Greece but for the entire euro area.”
Tsipras’s pledge to abrogate the terms of the bailout amounts to a bet the EU will stop short of kicking Greece out of the 17-nation euro. The cuts required for 240 billion euros ($303 billion) of aid from the EU and the International Monetary Fund have deepened the worst recession since World War II. Greeks vote a second time in six weeks in three days after a May 6 ballot failed to yield a government.
Tsipras is “promising miracles,” Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington, said in a telephone interview. “Things in Greece, economically and politically, can get a lot worse. That’s not something that’s very easy to sell to Greek voters but I think that’s the reality.”
“Crises are seldom fair,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Stern magazine in comments published yesterday. “If the country wants to become competitive again, the minimum wage has to sink.”
Syriza was propelled to second place in the inconclusive May 6 vote. Most opinion polls show Syriza and New Democracy, which backs the bailout, running even for first place. According to the last opinion polls on June 1, neither has enough support at this point to rule alone.
Tsipras, 37, has said he’ll try to keep Greece in the euro while pledging to cancel austerity measures. Fitch Ratings said today that a Greek exit from the euro would have a “severe” indirect impact on banks throughout the euro area, requiring a “robust” response from policy makers to prevent contagion.
Investors will target debt-laden Italy, a Group of Eight country and the third-largest euro economy, if Greece is ejected from the currency, Tsipras said. “When you give a sign that a country can be led to hell, then they will rush to attack the next weak link, which is Italy.”
Tsipras’s view that Greece won’t be kicked out of the euro, membership of which is seen as irrevocable by its founding treaty, “is based on the analyses of the most credible European and international economists, cost-and-benefit analyses of one or the other scenario,” he said in response to a question on whether he has been in touch with any EU official. “Our conviction isn’t based on public relations or on some confirmations from politicians.”
“Tsipras is misreading Greece’s European partners, especially the Nordic countries, as there is no willingness to give in to blackmail,” said Wolfango Piccoli, an analyst at Eurasia Group in London.
A Syriza-led government would revoke all austerity measures that have deepened the economic slump and enact a plan for economic and social development, taxes on the wealthy, nationalize “and socialize” banks while seeking a renegotiation of the loan agreement.
Worried Greeks have accelerated bank withdrawals, two bankers familiar with the situation said, on concern the nation may move closer to abandoning the euro. The outflow is increasing the strain on a banking system that has suffered since the beginning of the crisis. An exit from the euro would cut lenders off from access to ECB funding.
“To stop these outflows, this hemorrhage from the financial system, it is imperative to have support from all political sides that we’re working to stabilize the Greek economy”, he said. “This scare-mongering on Greece leaving the euro must stop.”
Syriza won 16.8 percent of the vote compared with New Democracy’s 18.9 percent. Under Greek election rules, the winning party gets an extra 50 seats in Parliament.