Reforms Amid Austerity: SYRIZA’s Self-Assessment

syrizacongress

June 2016 Political Theses of SYRIZA’s Central Committee for the Second Congress held on October 13-16. (Hyperlinks added by this blog.)

A. REVIEW

1. SYRIZA’s Victorious Advance – Unification at the First Congress, Preparation to Assume Responsibility for Government

The starting point of Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) great advance dates back to the late 1980s, when the first signs of a general political crisis and the crisis of the bourgeois party system appeared. This happened when the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK) started being fully controlled by the state, placing the state’s imperatives and rationale, as well as the particular vested interests it was involved with, at the core of its existence, gradually acceding to the rising neoliberalism and abandoning the political representation of those afflicted by the inequalities perpetually produced by capitalism. New Democracy (ND) emerged as the pure champion of neoliberalism and, thanks to PASOK’s shift and the now apparent corruption, managed to have two short, but equally scandalous, terms in government. Continue reading

Could Sanders Split the Democratic Party?

Shawn Whitney, Canadian writer, filmmaker, and socialist, continues our discussion of the US elections. He argues that Marxists should be playing an active role in Sanders’ campaign because of its potential to raise the general level of class-conciousness. Read previous contributions to the debate hereFirst published by Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century.

Presidential primary season is drawing to a close in the United States and mainstream media are trying to wrap up the dirty business of choosing the political candidates for each of the dominant political parties – so that they can move on to the dirty business of choosing the president. It will be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, we are told, and that is the end of it.

They are probably right. But that is hardly the end of it. The looming California primary could deal another bloody nose to the credibility of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate, with the potential for a late season major upset by Bernie Sanders. If this happens it would come just a week after the Inspector General at the State Department released a damning report on Hillary Clinton’s simmering email scandal, explicitly exposing her as a liar[1], further cementing her image in the public mind as fundamentally dishonest. A recent Fox poll found that more people thought her dishonest than serial liar Trump with his multiple bankruptcies and business swindles.[2] In fact, what has become most apparent in the current primary is that both presumptive candidates – Trump and Clinton – have the highest disapproval ratings in polling history for any presidential candidate.[3]

What has been different this primary season is, first and foremost, the hunger on both sides of the political spectrum for more muscular responses to the unending crisis of capitalism. On the right there is Trump touting the politics of scapegoating. He promises to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep out Latino refugees and immigrants. He promises to ban Muslim immigration. Lately he has been using racism to attack the Mexican-American judge who is presiding over the class-action lawsuit against Trump regarding one of his (many) scams: Trump University.[4] And, once a liberal on some social questions, he has run with the reactionary politics that are fueling his supporters. He has enthusiastically taken up the cudgel of social conservatism to attack women, gays and lesbians, African-Americans, etc. Continue reading

SYRIZA on Popular Unity’s Split and the Tasks Facing the Greek Left

To all member and observer parties of the European Left

To all fraternal and friendly left and progressive parties

Dear comrades and friends,

In 20 August, the Prime Minister of Greece, comrade Alexis Tsipras, announced in an address to the nation that he resigns and that he will ask the President of the Republic to initiate the constitutional process for an extra-ordinary election (possibly to be held in 20 September). On the same day, comrade Tsipras visited the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Pavlopoulos and officially filed his resignation.

The day after, 25 MPs of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA (most of them coming from the “Left Platform of SYRIZA”) officially declared that they form a new Parliamentary group and a new party under the title of “Popular Unity”, led by Panagiotis Lafazanis, former Minister of Productive Reconstruction. Another 4 MPs of SYRIZA declared their independence the same day.

PopularUnity Continue reading

Is Tsipras a Traitor for Refusing the Dra(ch)ma of Grexit?

The Greek government led by the radical left coalition, SYRIZA, has voted to accept what amounts to a third memorandum, or as former finance minister rightfully called it, “a new Versailles Treaty.” The final tally in the Greek parliament was: 229 yes, 64 no, 6 abstentions, 1 absent; of the 64 no votes, 38 of them came from SYRIZA (which has a total of 149 seats in parliament).

The most common reaction to this defeat on the English-speaking left internationally has been to label SYRIZA’s leader and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras a traitor. Or a dupe, a fool, a moron, a sellout, a coward, a utopian — you get the idea.

Continue reading