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Syriza’s last chances run low as new election looms in Greece

This article is over 8 years, 5 months old
The left party’s crisis is unlikely to be solved by an election as more radical groups gain support—especially among workers, says Dave Sewell
Issue 2471
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras (Pic: GLE/NGL/flickr)

Voters across Greece will go to the polls for the third time in a year this Sunday. They will elect a new government after the left wing Syriza party split over its support for austerity.

In July Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras won a No vote in a referendum on an austerity package proposed by Greece’s creditors. 

Yet within days he signed up to even deeper cuts. The party grew by challenging austerity. It rapidly fell apart.

Panos Garganas is editor of Socialist Worker’s sister paper in Greece, Workers’ Solidarity.

He said, “Now Syriza’s election campaign is all about Tsipras—focusing on his youth and saying Syriza is the future, the opposition is the past.

“His main tactic is to polarise between Syriza and the Tory party New Democracy. This hides the fact that they voted together for the ‘memorandum’ of austerity.”

Tsipras faces increasing ruling class pressure to form a coalition with New Democracy. And neither party looks set to have enough MPs to form a government alone.

Workers’ Solidarity reporter Giorgos Pittas has been going to workplace meetings organised by the anti-capitalist coalition Antarsya.


He told Socialist Worker, “There’s a huge difference from even just a few years ago, when the candidates you’d see would be Tories and social democrats. 

“Now, especially in workplaces, you only see the left—from Syriza, from its split Popular Unity, the Communist Party and Antarsya.

“And there are much deeper conversations going on. Because Tsipras has argued there was no alternative but to sign the memorandum, everyone has to give an answer of what the alternative is.”

Popular Unity rightly argues for leaving the euro. Antarsya candidates argue for more radical policies, made possible by workers’ control.

Giorgos said, “Of around 70 activists who have left Syriza in my area, up to 30 have joined Popular Unity. 

“Some Syriza activists are joining Antarsya. The largest group are waiting to see what happens.

“After the election, Syriza is committed to passing more austerity measures. A lot of people talk of giving it a second chance. 

“They won’t give it a third.”

Remember Pavlos Fyssas

Friday of this week marks two years since supporters of the fascist Golden Dawn murdered anti-fascist Pavlos Fyssas.

His father testified at the party’s trial on Monday of this week.

Golden Dawn’s support in the polls appears to be holding up compared to previous elections. 

But anti-fascists stopped it from holding a rally in the port city near Athens where the murder took place, Piraeus, on Thursday of last week.

They occupied the place it was meant to happen, forcing Golden Dawn to back down to holding a meeting in its sixth floor office. 

Protesters then marched down to the port to show solidarity with refugees arriving there. A major anti-fascist demonstration is planned the week after the election.

Panos Garganas in Athens

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