Social Democracy in Europe is Now Swinging Decisively to the Left

Capitalism-and-Social-DemocracyPublished: 5 June 2017
Author: Pat Byrne
(British Labour Party activist)

As Britain prepares for a new General Election in which a left-led Labour Party looks set to do much better than predicted, there are clear signs that the long swing to the right within social democracy in Europe is now running in the reverse direction.

In recent years, there has been much comment on the Left that social democracy was finished and that a new mass left movement was in the process of taking its place. The rise of Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain were trumpeted as evidence for this widespread trend. While welcoming the rise of Syriza and Podemos, our Socialist Network also pointed to the potential of the left within social democracy to regain the ascendancy within the movement as an organic reflection of the rising discontent of working people hard-hit by the world economic crisis.

Read moreSocial Democracy in Europe is Now Swinging Decisively to the Left

Debate: What options for the Left in Greece?

Syriza Keeps the Greeks on Track

Published: 15/10/2015.
Author: Themos Demetriou (Socialist Expression Cyprus).
Intro by: TSN Editor.

In the run up to our Annual Meeting next weekend in Athens – see here for details – the debate about the struggle in Greece continues. Here we publish a document written eight weeks ago, a long time in terms of the frenetic pace of events there. Accordingly the author has added an introduction to cover his thoughts on the latest developments:

 

The document below was first published in late August, during the election campaign that returned Tsipras to power with an astonishing 35.5% of the vote. Even at that time it was necessary to add a postscript in order to bring it up to date with the fact that elections were called by Tsipras, and a split took place in Syriza with the formation of the new Popular Unity party.

Today, with the results of the elections being what they are, a few comments on the developing situation are probably in order.

Read moreDebate: What options for the Left in Greece?

The Deal Between Greece and the EU ? Time for Mass Mobilisation

Syriza EU Deal CollagePublished: 24 Feb 2015
Author: Jonathan Clyne (a member of TSN)

 

 

 

The new deal between the Syriza-led Greek Government and the EU Finance Ministers appears to leave things more or less unchanged: in effect postponing a confrontation for four months.

However, on the Left, reactions to the agreement have been sharply different. On one side, some have said that ?Varoufakis?s strategy was pure genius, mainly because it knocked the EU finance ministers off balance and threw the process into turmoil?, and by the EU leaders agreeing to the deal ?they would be acknowledging (and, tacitly, approving) Greece?s determination to make the program less punitive in the future.?

At the other extreme, the deal has been presented as a ?betrayal?, the result of not going for a full blown socialist revolution. Somewhere in between these positions, there is the view that ?we should give the government a chance?. That they need a breathing space after just getting elected.

All these views miss the point. They do not relate to the hopes and aspirations of Greeks of finally getting politicians that keep what they promise. Success in politics, for those that oppose the establishment is not decided by being ?clever? either with tactics or slogans nor by being ?patient?, but by mobilisation.

Read moreThe Deal Between Greece and the EU ? Time for Mass Mobilisation

Greece: Syriza, the Economists and the Impossible Triangle

3ED2-ECB-EuclidTsakalotosPublished: 23 Jan 2015
Author: Michael Roberts

All the polls show that the leftist Syriza alliance is set to win the general election in Greece next Sunday.  It may not get an outright majority and may have to form a coalition with one of the small centre parties.  But it looks most likely that the incumbent coalition of Samaras? conservative New Democracy and the degenerated social-democrat PASOK will lose power.

Financial markets are getting worried and Greek government bonds have dropped sharply in price as investors fear a default.  Greek banks are losing deposits as Greek corporations and the rich (or at least those that have not already done so) shift their euros overseas.  Three banks are now asking for what is called Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) from the Greek central bank (in effect, liquid funds from the Eurosystem controlled by the European Central Bank).

Read moreGreece: Syriza, the Economists and the Impossible Triangle

Opinion: What are the Possible Outcomes of the Greek Elections and their Likely Consequences?

syriza3Published: 6 January 2015
Source: Red Pepper
Intro: by TSN Editor

Following the failure of the Greek parliament to elect a President, the parliament has been dissolved and a fresh election will be held later this month. This election promises to be the most important in Europe since the economic crisis of 2008-9 and the austerity programme of cuts in public services and living standards imposed by the European Union on Greece and the rest of Europe. For the first time there is the possibility that an anti-austerity party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), will be the leading party in the Greek elections. But will this be enough for Syriza to become the government and if so what will be the consequences? The following article which discusses these issues was recently published in the British Left-wing magazine, Red Pepper.

If Syriza wins the Greek election, what will happen next?
With Greece facing a snap general election on 25 January 2015, there is the genuine prospect of a radical left government coming to power in an EU country. Syriza, a party born from a coalition of Eurocommunists, social movements and anti-globalisation activists, is riding high.

Read moreOpinion: What are the Possible Outcomes of the Greek Elections and their Likely Consequences?

The New Programme of SYRIZA

Alexis_syriza
Alexis Tsipras leader of SYRIZA

Published: 27 December 2014
Author: Ilias Milonas

On Monday the Greek Parliament will vote for the next President. If the Government?s nominee fails to gain the minimum 180 votes there will be a general election which will be held in the following six weeks. In such a situation, the opinion polls put Syriza, Greece?s new left-wing party, as the likely winner of the elections which could put the first anti-austerity party in power in the Eurozone. In the light of this, it is important for us to analyse Syriza?s new policy platform that was announced recently. Here, an active member of the left-wing of Syriza outlines the new policy and explains why it is not enough.

A Limited Programme
This programme was announced by the president of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, during the International Exibition of Thessaloniki in September. It was not a result of a discussion through the bodies of the Party but the work of a group of people around him. It is a limited programme which the leadership wants to present to the people as the final programme of SYRIZA.

Read moreThe New Programme of SYRIZA

How do we deal with the World Economic Crisis?

Money going down the plugholeA speech by Soteris Vlachos from Socialist Expression in Cyprus, at the ‘Challenging the Rule of Troika, Transforming Europe’ Conference in Dublin on the 10th of March 2014.

Today is probably the time to revisit the concepts of World Revolution and formulate an International exit strategy from the crisis. Today, much more than in 1917, it is impossible to talk about a national socialist transformation, isolated from the rest of the world. Any radical break with capitalist policies will send revolutionary ripples across Europe and across the World with unprecedented speed. The rapid spread of the Arab Spring is the sort of model that we will be facing in the coming years.

Read moreHow do we deal with the World Economic Crisis?

“The police behave like nazis” and other shocking facts from Greece

As the Greek governing coalition grows ever more unpopular, SYRIZA, the radical alternative, is poised to win any coming election. But does it have the programme and leadership to solve the crisis in favour of working people? Here ILIAS MILONAS, a member of the Party’s Central Committee and its left-wing faction Left Platform, questions the road down which SYRIZA’s leadership is trying to take the party. And raises warnings about the rising threat of the neo-fascist right.

Where does Syriza currently stand in public opinion?

SYRIZA has stabilized at around 30% in public opinion polls, after their 27% share in the last elections. The Greek people do not have an absolute trust in SYRIZA but they are suffering a lot from the hard measures of the government and the Troika (the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank ? editor) and in the reality, they have no other political alternative. This support for SYRIZA should be better but the masses have not the enthusiasm of previous years and no trust in politics generally. Also, the political attitude of the SYRIZA leadership lately doesn?t help very much. Their public speeches have lost the radicalization of the period before the elections as they try to promote a more ?realistic? program.

Read more“The police behave like nazis” and other shocking facts from Greece

Which road for Greece? (part 2)

Published: 2 April 2013
Author: Pat Byrne

In Part 1 of this two-part assessment we explained some of the factors behind the rise of the left-wing SYRIZA movement in Greece to the point where it is now the most popular party in the country and could lead a future government. Here Pat Byrne highlights some important weaknesses in SYRIZA’s programme and proposes constructive changes that could determine its success or failure.

But what programme are SYRIZA offering and is it capable of solving Greece?s economic crisis?

Certainly, the election manifesto that SYRIZA stood on last year was extremely radical. This was to be warmly welcomed and received mass support among the population. But there are already signs that the majority of the Party leadership are moderating their proposals under the heavy pressure of the mass media and capitalist society. This was evident at last December?s Party Congress debates over the Party?s programme and in various contributions from leading figures since.

Read moreWhich road for Greece? (part 2)

SYRIZA opens a window

SYRIZA's logo (source: WikiMedia)
SYRIZA’s logo (source: WikiMedia)

Referring to Greece, the Canadian left-wing activist John Riddell has theorized about different forms of workers? governments. There are possibilities, he claims, to actually be in government and at the same time challenge capitalist state institutions ?from within?. This can be done by dissolving those parts of the state that are hindering the growth of the workers? movement, and at the same time, outside of parliament, assisting the same movement.

In that way, workers councils and other working class organisations can co-exist during a time while a parliamentary governing party is trying to transfer as much power as possible to working people. This road offers a complement to Marxists who have traditionally not wanted to have anything to do with the state. These Marxists have at stretch been prepared to ?critically support? some party in elections, but never thought that they themselves would do anything but overthrowing the state immediately.

Read moreSYRIZA opens a window