Socialist Worker

Who are the Independent Greeks?

Issue No. 2438

Syriza’s new coalition partner, the Independent Greeks or Anel, is a split from the Tory New Democracy. 

Its leader, Panos Kammenos, was a New Democracy MP but left due to nationalist opposition to the memorandum.

The memorandum demanded austerity and cuts in return for bailouts.

Anel sees austerity as a problem only because it is being imposed by foreigners.

Kammenos is a darling of the shipowners, a homophobe and well known for his Antisemitic outbursts.

His inclusion in government has shocked many Syriza supporters. Some claim it is necessary as Syriza fell just short of a majority.

But Syriza could have formed a minority government.

Many activists in Greece say that Syriza would have sought a coalition with Anel even if it had a majority.

The Syriza leadership has had a long term project to win over the anti-austerity right. It argues that this can unite the “nation”, rather than seeing the fight against austerity as a battle of the working class.

This reflects the idea that governments should rule in the “national interest” which blurs real class divisions.

Racism has been a key weapon of the Greek and European elite. Many expect Syriza to bring in anti-racist measures.

Yet a strategy of trying to keep the bigots of Anel on board will leave the left fighting with its hands tied.

 


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