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Left gains in Greece as rulers fail to panic voters

This article is over 9 years, 1 months old
More workers are backing Syriza—and then plan to keep on fighting austerity, writes Panos Garganas
Issue 2437
syriza leader Alexis Tsipras addresses a party rally
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras addresses a party rally (Pic: flikr: Mirko Isaia)

As the Greek election campaign enters its final stretch, it’s clear that the right’s scare campaign has failed.

Radical left party Syriza’s lead has got wider, not narrower. 

The outgoing Tory government and its allies have scaremongered throughout the campaign. 

They claim that if the left wins Greece will be thrown out of the euro and the banks will collapse.

But people are not afraid. When the Tories talk about a bank run, people remember how one of their own ministers threatened to pull his money out if Syriza wins.

Bank deposits are going down—but that’s because the economy is in a slump.

Syriza is promising there won’t be panic if it wins. 

There will be negotiations between the new Greek government and the European Union (EU). But the EU is already beginning to blackmail Syriza.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to announce a programme of “quantitative easing” to combat economic stagnation on Thursday of this week. 

This effectively means giving out huge loans.

But it won’t include Greece, as the ECB will only lend money to Greece in return for more austerity. 

It’s been demanding cuts as the condition for Greece’s bailout programmes for five years. 

The EU and the German government both insist that a change of government won’t let Greece out of its “obligations” to make cuts. 

This isn’t an empty threat. Greek banks are in need of loans to stay afloat. 


The cost of borrowing on the bond markets has soared for the government. If the ECB bought its bonds that would change.

The government has until the end of February to negotiate new bailout terms. 

The EU doesn’t want to push Greece out of the euro. It wants to force a left government into a compromise that means austerity will continue.

It means they will be flexible. They could give Syriza more time to negotiate—and Syriza could claim it has achieved serious negotiations. 

But in return Syriza would have to pass a budget that keeps up repayments on the debt and somehow 

satisfies the markets and workers.

That’s why the anti-capitalist coalition Antarsya calls for cancelling the debt. 

We’ve been holding meetings in workplaces, comparing the situation to trade union negotiations. 

You don’t go into a meeting with management promising not to do anything. You threaten to strike, then go in with your demands.

Many workers can see this, including those who are voting Syriza. They want to get the government out, but know it won’t be the end of the story.

There’s a layer of about 100,000 workers who vote tactically for Syriza, but are well to its left.

This week every party is set to hold rallies.

We’ve never sold so many copies of Workers’ Solidarity, Socialist Worker’s sister paper.

There will be celebrations if it’s the end of this government. But it won’t be the end of the fightback.

‘We have to take on the European Union and our rulers’

For the first time in decades a left party is on the brink of forming a government.

It’s the result of five years of hard struggle by workers.

We’ve had almost 35 general strikes and a wave of struggles that have continued for well over a year.

This included the ERT media workers, ministry of finance cleaners, workers at Coca Cola and in the cement industry. 

These struggles pushed the hated government to the edge. And when that government falls it will open the door to new waves of struggle.

People are voting for the left in huge numbers. 

This is a chance to take back everything that’s been taken from us over the last five years. Our jobs, our wages, and all the laws they’ve imposed on us.

Antarsya’s candidates include the fighters from the frontlines of all these struggles.

A strong vote for Antarsya will be the best way to ensure that we can achieve what we’ve been fighting for.

To win, we have to take on the EU and the ruling class even if it means doing things Syriza is too afraid to do.

Tasos Anastasiadis

Tasos Anastasiadis is an Antarsya candidate and coordinator of the Campaign Against Redundancies and Closures

‘A big fight for the anti-fascist movement’

Antarsya candidate Niki Argyri

Antarsya candidate Niki Argyri

This election is a big battle for the anti-fascist movement

We remember when the coalition parties included the far right Laos party in their last government.

It’s taken strikes, demonstrations and campaigning to keep them from working with the far right again.

They have kept delaying the trial of Golden Dawn—a party of fascist murderers. 

We’ll be demanding that a new government sets a date for the trial. 

We want to bring back citizenship for migrants’ children, legalise all migrant workers and close the refugee prison camps. 

And we want to break with the government’s racist lies. It blames migrants for crime and unemployment. But workers have stood up and refused to be deceived.

The anti-racist struggle has radicalised the working class. And the anti-capitalist left has been fighting for that unity.

Niki Argyri

Niki Argyri is an Antarsya candidate and organiser for the Movement Against Racism and the Fascist Threat

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