Recent elections in Greece have shown growing public support for the anti-austerity left and radical left, particularly for SYRIZA, which translates to Coalition of the Radical Left. The radical and anti-austerity left correctly ruled out forming a government with the pro-cuts social democrats. However, the traditional Communist Party, the (KKE), which has long ceased to be a revolutionary socialist organisation, has failed to unite with SYRIZA. While the left could not form a government, neither could the pro-austerity parties. This will result in new elections later in June. One important lesson to be drawn from this is the rate at which support can grow for organised left parties during an upsurge of struggle. There are numerous debates about how Marxists and socialists should proceed in the coming period. There are questions such as should the hard-left form a government? To what extent should membership in the Eurozone be protected or downplayed? and what are the ramifications for the wider European left and working class of electoral victory or defeat? Below we republish a range of articles from the international left which engage on these questions.
The main thing to note here is that the long-standing establishment political parties of capitalism have been shattered, that the Greek parliament has become increasingly polarized between a hard left and a hard right. This is more what a society looks like before a revolution or a civil war than before some grand resurgence of social-democracy and rescue of capitalist stability.
Greece: Euro crisis deepens, Socialist World
The crucial question now is: can this left advance be pushed further and channelled into a bigger victory in the second election? Will the Greek working class and its organisations embrace a rounded out revolutionary socialist programme? Without this it will not be possible to resolve the crisis in Greece or begin to solve the devastating social consequences of the austerity packages thus far introduced.
A new stage of the resistance in Greece, Socialist Worker
I think it’s very possible that we’ll face some major provocations in the coming weeks. The rulers of Greece are very frightened right now. Until last week, they were hoping that the bourgeois parties would find a solution and create a government. Now they know that hope is finished, and they are very afraid about what comes next. If the elections happen and SYRIZA comes in first place, it will be more difficult for them to stop us–I don’t mean it’s impossible, but it will be more difficult.
Greek Solidarity Statement, International Socialist Tendency
Implementing austerity has required a massive erosion of democracy. ‘Technocratic’ governments have been imposed on Greece and Italy, there have been calls by North European politicians for the parliamentary elections due to take place in Greece in April to be postponed, Greece’s economic sovereignty has been effectively suspended as the troika exercises increasingly detailed control of ministries, and riot police viciously attack protesters and strikers. This isn’t just a problem in Greece: in November it emerged that German parliamentarians had been given details of the forthcoming Irish budget long before these had been submitted to the Dail.
Save us from the saviours, Slavoj Zizek:
Critics of our current democratic arrangements complain that elections don’t offer a true choice: what we get instead is the choice between a centre-right and a centre-left party whose programmes are almost indistinguishable. On 17 June, there will be a real choice: the establishment (New Democracy and Pasok) on one side, Syriza on the other. And, as is usually the case when a real choice is on offer, the establishment is in a panic: chaos, poverty and violence will follow, they say, if the wrong choice is made. The mere possibility of a Syriza victory is said to have sent ripples of fear through global markets.