Comment & Analysis
A political earthquake in Greece (May 07, 2012)
A political earthquake in Greece
The Socialist Party is a part of an international socialist organisation called the Committee for a Workers' International - which has a presence in nearly 50 countries across the world.
Our sister organisation in Greece, Xekinima, affliated to the CWI, has released this initial statement following the election results:
A political earthquake in Greece
Greek voters have sent out a message that has terrified the Troika, their craven political parties and the ruling class in Greece and Europe.
Two out of three Greeks voters said NO to the EU/IMF/ECB Troika’s austerity ‘Memorandum’ ! Compared to the 2009 election, PASOK lost 72.6% of its support – a loss of 2.19 million votes. The right-wing ‘New Democracy’ lost almost half of its support - over 1million votes! SYRIZA (the Coalition of the Radical Left) jumped from 4.6% to 16.8 % earning over 700 thousand new votes (from 315,000 in 2009 to over 1million today)!
The political landscape that existed in Greece for almost 4 decades has been shattered. The mass struggles of the last two years have led to this change in political outlook. In turn, this result can give new impetus to these mass movements.
Forming a "Government" through electoral fraud?
The parties of the Troika and the ruling class will still try to make sure they can form the Government through an electoral system that distorts the will of the people by giving 50 additional seats to the leading party – even though ND had only a small and declining vote ! [ND’s 18.9% translates into 108 seats, SYRIZA’s16.8% gives only 52 seats]. ‘Democracy’ was never, more hollow and hypocritical.
Despite this blatant electoral ‘fraud’, ND and PASOK are still short of the target of 151 MPs needed to form a majority ( they have respectively 108 and 41, totalling 149). So they have started trying to pull together a government of "national unity" with the supposed aim of renegotiating the ‘Memorandum’.
There is only one response that the movement can give to any such Government: strikes, occupations in workplaces, in squares, in schools and colleges - until it falls.
SYRIZA, the big winner
The big winner of the elections was SYRIZA. This is a great victory for all social movements and the Left in general, but more specifically for a series of political positions and proposals put forward by SYRIZA. Apart from their opposition to the Memorandum, the vote for SYRIZA translates into massive popular support for the policy of unity and co-operation across the Left, and clear support to the idea of a Government of the Left.
The danger of fascism returns
But there is also a very serious threat from the election of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, who finished in sixth place. The 434,000 who voted for them are not neo-Nazis but people who chose this way to condemn the ND and far-right LAOS MPs in parliament, by sending them "extremists." But Golden Dawn will try to exploit this effect to strengthen its base. This perspective is a huge risk for the entire labour and popular movement, and our democratic rights.
The Left has to wake-up to the danger of fascism, to see the need for a serious joint struggle against the rise of neo-fascism. This is a further reason for joint action and for cooperation of the Left.
The struggle for an alternative society
Today SYRIZA is the "vehicle" which the Greek people has chosen to take into the political arena. In truth, notwithstanding some of the weaknesses in SYRIZA’s policy, this result opens the way to a struggle for an alternative economic and social policy, namely the struggle for an alternative society.
SYRIZA must face-up to its historical responsibilities. The crisis has only one answer: bold socialist policies.
There is now a realistic prospect of forming a Government of the Left in the period ahead – even more so if New Democracy and PASOK fail to form a government of "national unity" and opt to go straight to new elections. If such a Left Government were to be formed, the reaction of capital in Greece and Europe would be ferocious. They will threaten, and very possibly will carry out such a threat, to throw Greece out of the euro. At the same time, they will try to strangle the economy and ultimately to overthrow the government by any means necessary.
In these circumstances there will be two roads, either the overthrow of the power of capital - or compromise and selling out of the movement.
Under the domination of big capital, there are no prospects and no hope. We must not forget that PASOK 31 years ago formed a "left" government. But its refusal to overthrow the power of capital has led to the current Memorandum under a PASOK Government.
The ruling class are panicking and talking about a major political crisis! The Troika can now see the frightening results of their labours! This is what the terror that they have inflicted on Greek people and Greek workers has produced!
The Greek labour movement said, “Drive out the Troika”, “Down with their political parties”, “An end to the two-party system”, “for a socialist way out of the crisis”. To achieve these goals means fighting for an alternative socialist society. Anything else would mean an abandonment of the principles and declarations of the Left.
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