Socialist Worker

Political crisis brings new challenges in Greece

by Panos Garganas in Athens
Issue No. 2463

Strikers march through Athens ahead of the parliament vote on the EU deal

Strikers march through Athens ahead of the parliament vote on the EU deal (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras sacked the three ministers of Syriza’s Left Platform who had voted against the first round of austerity measures last week.

The minister in charge of pensions was replaced by a member of Syriza’s right wing coalition partner the Independent Greeks. But this is unlikely to be a lasting arrangement. 

Only 123 government MPs voted with Tsipras last week. If that number dips below 120 this week, he will be forced to call a new election. 

Senior ministers have said they expect one by autumn. 

Tsipras would come out with a much bigger majority. He is doing well in the polls as the opposition parties fall into worse crises of their own.

The main pro-austerity party, Tory New Democracy, came second to Syriza in January’s election. 

But it bet everything on a Yes vote on the recent referendum on an earlier proposed austerity deal. It lost, its leader resigned, and the provisional leadership don’t know what to do.

Ignored

The left opposition, the Communist Party, is in trouble after a call for spoiled ballots in the referendum—something even many long-term members ignored.

The fascist Golden Dawn is trying to position itself as an anti-austerity force to take advantage of the deal. 

But its leaders are on trial for links to murders by Golden Dawn members, after mass strikes and protests overcame the state’s attempts to protect them.

But while Syriza as a whole could get more MPs, the Left Platform would get far fewer, as the candidates would be chosen by the leadership around Tsipras.

Despite this there is no sign of the Left Platform splitting from Syriza. 

They have made it clear that they want to stay and fight.

The plan is to call a meeting of the central committee, convene a special conference, win the vote and break the party from austerity. 

Their real uphill struggle will be to keep rank and file members from leaving. 

Some will stay to reclaim it, but many more are drifting away.

In the months ahead we want to unite with the whole left in supporting strikes—defying the trade union bureaucracy, where supporters of the old parties are still trying to block them.

But we also have an immediate task of explaining to disillusioned Syriza supporters that the solution isn’t to try and reclaim a reformist party but to build the anti-capitalist left.


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