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Analyzing The Failures Of Syriza

By Pete Dolack for Counterpunch. So many put their puts hopes into Syriza; so many were bitterly disappointed. Greece’s Coalition of the Radical Left proved wholly unable to resist the enormous pressures put on it and it is Greek working people who are paying the price, not excepting those who voted for Syriza. How should we analyze the depressing spectacle of what had been a genuinely Left party, indeed a coalition of leftist forces from a variety of socialist perspectives, self-destructing so rapidly? The simplistic response would be to wash our hands and condemn Syriza as “opportunists,” but we’ll learn exactly nothing with such an attitude. If we are serious about analyzing Syriza’s spectacular failure — including those who expected this outcome in advance — digging through the rubble is unavoidable. There were many currents coursing through Syriza, in addition to other Left tendencies outside. Nor were there shortages of people who feared what the fate of Syriza might become, including leaders inside it, before it took power, reminds Helena Sheehan in her new book The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left. Written in exhilaration and sorrow, Professor Sheehan, a veteran of solidarity work with the Greek Left, rides those tides as she recounts the anticipation and optimism before, and the depression and shock afterward, inside Greece and among Syriza’s allies across Europe.

Newsletter: Brexit Backlash Against EU, Revolt Against Elites

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The globalized economy is not working for most people of the world. International trade agreements and new government structures like the European Union serve corporate power and put the people and planet aside to ensure profits continue to come first. They undermine democracy and national sovereignty, leaving people feeling more powerless. By pushing austerity and commodification of public services, people are now more economically insecure with less wealth and lower incomes. The response of many is anger. Some protest austerity, others blame people of a different skin color, heritage or ethnicity. The surprise vote in the UK to leave the European Union is the latest, and perhaps the biggest, example of the blowback economic and political elites are getting for their actions. Brexit shows we have our work to do to educate people that this is not about racism and anger at ethnic groups, but is really the battle between the people and the elites. It is a conflict over whether we the people will have the power to decide our futures, whether we can create a fair economy that serves more than the 1% and whether we can act in ways that are consistent with the needs of the environmental crisis we face.

EU: Left To Reclaim Democracy From ‘Technocrats’

By Nadia Prupis for Commondreams. Berlin, Germany - Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Tuesday announced the launch of a pan-European progressive movement to "democratize" the continent and promote alternatives to austerity and authoritarianism. Along with pro-democracy allies from across the continent, Varoufakis—known for his candid rejection of European Union austerity politics during Greece's financial crisis—chose to announce the "Democracy in Europe Movement 2025" (Diem25) at the historic Volksbuehne theater, which is known as a landmark in German leftist activism. "We've chosen Berlin precisely because nothing can change in a progressive direction without the full participation of Germany in our European endeavors," he said during a press conference in the theater.

Greece: SYRIZA Wins Elections But This Is No Mandate For Austerity

By Fred Weston and Arturo Rodriguez in Marxist - SYRIZA won the elections yesterday, which Tsipras claims gives him a mandate to continue on the road he had already embarked on this summer, i.e. to apply the conditions dictated by the Troika. He, however, conveniently ignores the not unimportant detail that his government coalition (SYRIZA-ANEL) lost a total of 416,000 compared to the vote in January. In percentage terms SYRIZA received 35.46% almost the same as January’s 36.3%, but in absolute terms the party lost 320,000 votes. New Democracy won 28%, almost the same as January’s 27.8%, but it too lost many votes in absolute terms, nearly 200,000. What has distorted the result was the much larger numbers abstaining this time round. In January 37% did not vote, while this time it was 43.5% and of those who went to the polling stations 2.5% cast a blank vote.

Newsletter: Transformation – Elections & Movements

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance - The United States has unusual challenges for movements working in the electoral system. The two party system is deeply embedded in law and political consciousness so it is very hard for a party challenging Wall Street to be successful. Wall Street and big business are the dominant funders of both parties, the corporate media echoes their message and debates managed by the two parties through a phony “debate commission” keep out alternative views. People challenging that system have little opportunity to get their message out and be viable in the rigged US democracy. The relationship between movements and elections is complicated to navigate but to succeed we will need both an electoral and non-electoral movement that are independent of the corporate duopoly.

Syriza Rebels Form A New Party

By BBC News - Rebels from Greece's governing left-wing Syriza are to break away and form a new party. Prime Minister and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras stood down on Thursday, paving the way for new elections. The move came after he lost the support of many of his own MPs in a vote on the country's new bailout with European creditors earlier this month. Greek media reports say 25 rebel Syriza MPs will join the new party, called Laiki Enotita (Popular Unity). The party will be led by former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who was strongly opposed to the bailout deal. At a press conference in Athens, Mr Lafazanis said he was ready to respect the result of a referendum held in July, in which 61% of Greeks said they would not support the terms of the bailout.

Greek Parliament Approves Bailout Causing a Rebellion In SYRIZA

By Sharmini Peries for the Real News - It has been I think a dramatic 48 hours, even by the standards of the Greek crisis. As the, within hours--perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration. A day or two of the bailout negotiations having been announced as concluded, the parliament, the Greek government tabled a 400-page bill which basically gave to the parliamentarians less than 24 hours to digest and debate. Just before the debate began, 11 members of Syriza, the Left Platform of Syriza led by Panayiotis Lafazanis, the former energy minister and I think the putative leader of the Left Platform, issued a letter in which they called for the formation of a national anti-bailout movement, and asked for a nationwide mobilization at every level of the political organization of the Left Platform to oppose the bailout.

Greek Bailout Goes To Servicing The Debt

Interview of Dimitri Lascaris by Sharmini Peries in The Real News - Well, the headline is that a deal has been struck for Greece to borrow on top of its mountain of debt, which everyone now acknowledges is unsustainable, a further 86 billion euros in new loans over three years. Virtually all of which I think one can reasonably anticipate is going to be used to service the existing debt of Greece. So this is very much an extension of the five-year long exercise of extend and pretend that the Syriza government criticized so vehemently before coming to power.Underneath that headline, the next point of importance which I think the government is stressing and they're going to characterize and they have begun to characterize as a victory of sorts is the primary budget surplus targets which have emerged. They actually are significantly lower than those that everyone anticipated would be incorporated into the agreement based upon the deal that was struck in broad strokes on July 13 in Brussels.

Alexis Tsipras: “Austerity Is A Dead End”

By Kostas Arvanitis for Transform Network - We have to be objective in our conclusions. These have been six months of great tensions and emotions, and self-flagellation helps no one. Feelings of joy, pride, dynamism, determination, and sadness have surfaced. But I think that at the end of the day, if we try to look at this process objectively, we can only be proud to have led this fight. Under adverse conditions and with a difficult balance of forces within Europe and the world, we tried to assert the point of view of a people and the possibility of an alternative path. Ultimately, even if the powerful were able to impose their will, what remains is the absolute confirmation on the international level that austerity is a dead end. This process has established a completely new landscape in Europe.

Lessons In Greek For Leftists

By Steven Jonas in Greanville Post - Well, Greek lesson 1: what has happened to Syriza and Tsipras shows, once again that that is not possible. The ruling class is the ruling class, and short of revolution, as Lenin so rightly noted, it will always rule, one way or another. Greek lesson 2: The Greek ruling class seems to be coming out of the mess in very good shape. They managed to make sure that the worst of the “austerity” measures, imposed by their brethren in the European Union, were carried out under the nominal governmental control of a “leftist” government rather than its “center-right” predecessor. Greek lesson 3: The international capitalist ruling class (of which the Greek ruling class is of course a part) is absolutely intent on showing the people of Italy and Spain what would await them if they were to elect a left-wing government that would attempt something along the lines of what Syriza originally intended to door seemed to.

SYRIZA Leaders Against The Coup

By Syriza Central Committee Members, Translated by Antonis Martalis in Socialist Worker - The agreement with the "institutions" was the result of the blackmailing of the country through economic strangulation. It is a new Memorandum, with onerous and humiliating terms of supervision, disastrous for the country and our people. We realize that suffocating pressure was put on the Greek side in the negotiations, but nevertheless, we believe that the people's proud "no" vote in the referendum must forbid the government from succumbing to the extortionate ultimatums of the creditors. This agreement is not compatible with the ideas and the principles of the left. But most importantly, it is not compatible with the needs of the working class and the popular masses. This proposal cannot be accepted by the members and the cadres of SYRIZA. We ask for the Central Committee to convene immediately, and we call on the members, cadres and members of parliament of SYRIZA to stand for the unity of the party on the basis of our Congress decisions and our programmatic commitments.

Greek Debt Crisis: MPs Approve Bailout Plan, Some Syriza MPs Rebel

By Graeme Wearden and Nick Fletcher in The Guardian - Alexis Tsipras has won crucial approval from the Greek parliament for the €13bn of austerity measures he is proposing to creditors, to obtain a third bailout programme. After a late-night debate, 250 MPs out of 300 voted to give Tsipras, and finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, a mandate to negotiate this weekend. But, two Syriza MPs voted no, eight abstained, and seven were absent, potentially undermining the PM’s authority at a critical time. Before the vote, Alexis Tsipras described the last few months as a war in which difficult battles were fought and some were lost.

Landslide Victory For ‘No’ Vote In Greece, Rejects Troika

By Staff for Popular Resistance. Today, the people of Greece voted in a landslide to refuse to accept the demands of austerity by the troika by a vote of 61.31% to 38.69%. The vote, along with an IMF report critical of the austerity plan, should open a new round of negotiations in the upcoming week. Syriza is now in a slightly stronger bargaining position and the EU now has to decide whether democracy matters. The people of Greece celebrated the vote despite the unclear and difficult paths ahead. There is a lot of confusion and unpredictable paths ahead. The simpliest path is a better deal from the troika with less austerity and restructured or even forgiven Greek debt, but some of the comments by EU and German finance leaders indicate that is unlikely. A more difficult path with lots of unpredictable repersussions is a Greek exit from the EU and the return to the Greek drachma currency. The choices are difficult, let's hope that the vote today is the beginning of a fresh start and much greater fairness and common sense from the troika.

Greece: Europe’s Oligarch Bankers Want To Kill The Left In Europe

By Seumas Milne for the Guardian. The worst outcome of this crisis would be for Syriza to implement the austerity it was elected to end. A yes vote in next weekend’s referendum, if it goes ahead, would probably lead to the government’s fall, and almost certainly new elections. But even a no vote, which would offer the best chance for Greece, would need to be followed by more radical measures if the government was going to strengthen its negotiating hand or prepare the ground for euro exit. The real risk across Europe is that if Syriza caves in or collapses, that failure will be used to turn back the rising tide of support for anti-austerity movements such as Podemos in Spain, or Sinn Féin in Ireland, leaving the field to populists of the right. Either way, any Greek euro deal that fails to write off unrepayable debt or end the austerity squeeze will only postpone the crisis.

IMF & Germany Seek To Finish Off Even a Moderate Left In Greece

By C J Polychroniou in TruthOut. Negotiations between Greece and its official creditors - the European Commission, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank - are currently in renewed deadlock. Yet, only a few days ago, in the Euro summit on Monday, June 22, all indications were that Europe’s political beasts and the "criminal IMF" were ready to accept thelatest capitulation on the part of the Greek leftist government, which, since coming to power in late January, has spent a lot of time doing nothing more than "yelling, kicking and screaming" against austerity and the bailout program (and treating senior-level EU officials with disdain in public as part of its well-orchestrated populist theatrics) while at the same time seeking to assure Greece’s euro partners that it is committed to keeping the country in the euro area and that it would fulfill all its obligations to the creditors.
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