Greek Elections: SYRIZA Wins … and Forms an Alliance with Reactionary Racists!
Don’t Trust the Tsipras Leadership! Mobilize for the Struggle in Workplaces, Schools, and on the Streets Now!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT),
1. The elections in Greece have resulted in a tremendous victory for the left-reformist party SYRIZA which increased its vote by nearly 10% and missed the absolute majority of parliamentary seats by only 2. The former ruling party, the conservative ND, was clearly defeated and became the second largest party. PASOK, the other former government party, was trounced and reduced to nearly 1/3 of its former strength. DIMAR, another reformist party formerly in the government, was completely smashed and didn’t even get 0.5% of all votes cast! The official results are:
Party Votes Percent Seats +/- compared to
the June 2012
SYRIZA 2,246,064 36.34% 149 +9.45%/+78
New Democracy (ND) 1,718,815 27.81% 76 -1.85%/-53
Golden Dawn (XA) 388,447 6.28% 17 -0.64%/-1
To Potami 373,868 6.05% 17 New/+17
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 338,138 5.47% 15 + 0.97%/+3
Independent Greeks (ANEL) 293,371 4.75% 13 - 2.76%/-7
PASOK-DP 289,482 4.68% 13 -7.60%/-20
ANTARSYA-MARS) 39,455 0.64% 0 +0.32%/±0
Greens–Democratic Left (DIMAR) 30,074 0.49% 0 -5.76%/-17
KKE (m-l)/M-L KKE 8,033 0.13% 0 +0.01%/±0
Workers' Revolutionary Party (EEK) 2,441 0.04% 0 New/±0
Organisation of Internationalist
Communists of Greece (OKDE) 2,206 0.04% 0 New/±0
2. SYRIZA’s electoral victory reflects, first and foremost, a massive shift to the left. It demonstrates that the working class is no longer willing to follow the traditional bourgeois parties and that they want an end of the endless austerity offensives. All in all, the elections produced a massive increase of votes for parties of the workers’ movement. In the elections of June 2012, SYRIZA, KKE, and ANTARYSA together received 31.7% of the votes while in this week’s elections they got 42.5%. This is the first time that a government led by a party to the left of social democracy is taking power in Europe.
3. While the slight losses of the fascist XA are to be welcomed, there is no reason for the left to feel smug about this. The fact that this reactionary party is now the third-largest in Greece, even though its leadership is sitting in jail, demonstrates that is has built and consolidated a significant base. When SYRIZA will ultimately discredit itself and conditions in Greece will only worsen as the capitalist crisis deepens, XA will be in a good starting position to become a major force on the streets as well as in parliament.
4. The Stalinist KKE received less than 5.5% of the vote. While this is slightly above the result from the last elections (June 2012), it is still far below the 8.5% it got in April 2012. Similarly, while the centrist alliance ANTARSYA (which includes the Cliffite IST section) managed to double their share of the votes to 0.64%, this is still only half of the ballots cast for it in April 2012. The Trotskyist groups EEK and OKDE participated in the elections primarily to spread their propaganda, and got slightly more than 2,000 votes. In the final analysis, both the Stalinist KKE as well as the centrist ANTARSYA were completely unable to increase their working class support during a four year period of intense class struggle, during which there were more than 30 general strikes! This last fact is a tremendously important lesson as it demonstrates how the KKE’s sterile sectarianism towards SYRIZA and towards independent mass mobilizations, combined with its arch-opportunistic maneuvers, ends in complete failure. Similarly, ANTARSYA’s centrism has proved incapable of utilizing four years of class struggle to win over significant sectors of the workers’ vanguard.
5. In our last statement before the Greek elections, the RCIT called for a critical vote for SYRIZA, which we characterize as being left-reformist – and certainly not a centrist formation as some confused pseudo-Trotskyists stupidly claimed in 2012! – and a part of the ex-Stalinist Party of the European Left. It should by no means go unnoticed that this Party of the European Left recently joined the reactionary chorus of solidarity with the racist magazine Charlie Hebdo and called for “national unity” with the imperialist government after the attack on the magazine’s offices in Paris. SYRIZA’s French sister party even failed to vote in parliament against the country’s participation in the imperialist war in Iraq! SYRIZA‘s class character is a bourgeois workers party, meaning that it has its main roots and social basis in the working class movement (it is a coalition of a split from the KKE, called Synapsimos, as well as a number of pseudo-Trotskyist and Maoist groupings). SYRIZA also managed to win over a significant number of trade union bureaucrats and leftist activists. However, it is essentially a bourgeois party since its bureaucracy follows a bourgeois program designed to save capitalism in the present crisis period. The main goal of this bureaucratic caste is to secure its share in the stuffed feeding troughs of bourgeois power. In exchange for securing a place at the table of the ruling class, SYRIZA’s Tsipras leadership will do everything in its power to demobilize the working class resistance. Therefore, as we warned in our last RCIT statement on Greece: “The RCIT warns that a sustainable improvement for the Greek workers and youth will not be possible under a SYRIZA government. A Tsipras government will inevitably betray the hopes of the working class, because it is neither willing nor able to break with Greece’s elite and the EU and to lead the country out of its capitalist prison cell.” It is not surprising that the reaction of Europe’s stock markets to SYRIZA’s electoral victory was relaxed, one of “business as usual.”
6. Our warning is well-founded, as we already witnessed on the first day after the electoral triumph. The SYRIZA leadership announced the formation of a coalition with the right-wing, chauvinist ANEL party. This party was created in a split from the conservative ND, and stands for a thoroughly nationalistic, pro-capitalist, and racist anti-migrant agenda. It represents the class interests of an anti-EU sector of the Greek bourgeoisie as well as the chauvinist middle class. This is manifested in particular by its advocacy of a nationalistic-capitalist program, its opposition to migration and so-called “multiculturalism,” as well as its reactionary support for the religiously oriented Christian Orthodox education system.
7. Consequently, the new Greek government is not a bourgeois workers’ government, which would be the case if SYRIZA had formed a minority government or a government in coalition with the KKE). Instead, the government which Tsipras has formed is a popular front government. However, in contrast to the classic popular fronts (e.g., in France or in Chile 1970-73) where the openly bourgeois forces are usually left-liberals or Green parties, the Tsipras leadership chose a right-wing chauvinistic party to be its governmental partner.
8. It is all too clear that the Tsipras leadership went for a coalition with ANEL precisely because it wants to send a message to the ruling class, that it is a “serious” party which will not move the country to the “radical left” but rather govern Greece “seriously,” in the interest of the bosses. At the same time, SYRIZA is purposely stacking the deck against its own ostensible interest so that, when the time comes, it will be able to give as an excuse to its own workers base that it could not implement its program because of “necessary compromises” to its right-wing coalition partner. Contrary to the justifications of the SYRIZA leadership, forming such a coalition was not necessary even from a reformist point of view, since the party could have appealed to the KKE or PASOK deputies to support its minority government. Given the fact that SYRIZA needed only two more seats to form a majority government, it is clear as day that forming a minority government with the tacit support of a few KKE and/or PASOK deputies from outside would have succeeded. But, of course, such a maneuver would have made the ruling class nervous, and avoiding such concern of the bosses is Tsipras main goal.
9. The RCIT considers it crucial for socialists to now work for the transformation of the Greek workers’ ambitious hopes for an end of the austerity offensive via a SYRIZA government into mass mobilizations and the formation of independent organs of class struggle. Socialists should call for SYRIZA to immediately annul its coalition with ANEL and form a minority government. They should call on the KKE to give such a government critical support against the bourgeois parties, i.e., to support progressive measures brought before parliament and to defend a SYRIZA minority government against attempts of the bourgeois opposition to bring it down.
10. The coming days will bring about a first test to the left wing inside SYRIZA. Their parliamentary deputies will have to decide if their loyalty is primarily to the reformist Tsipras leadership, in which case they will vote for the popular front government. Alternatively, they should be prepared to defend fundamental working class principles and vote against the government which includes reactionary chauvinists. Greek socialists should campaign to put pressure on the left wing in SYRIZA. According to IMT sources, the issue of a coalition government with either ANEL or the neo-liberal Potami party had already been discussed and decided upon at a meeting of SYRIZA’s Central Committee before the elections. Unsurprisingly, the Tsipras faction majority pushed through approval for such a popular-frontist maneuver. Disgracefully, with the exception of the representatives of the pro-IMT current in SYRIZA, the left opposition in SYRIZA shamelessly failed to vote against such a coalition, and actually preferred to abstain! The shameful coalition of Tsipras with ANEL demonstrates once again the urgent necessity for socialists within SYRIZA to prepare a split in order to found a new workers’ party based on a revolutionary program.
11. Socialists in Greece should call on SYRIZA not to rely on the arithmetic of the parliamentary system – because this is not where real power lies in capitalism – but on the power of working class mobilizations. Socialists should agitate for an offensive on the streets and in the workplaces by instituting a wave of strikes leading up to general strikes as well as occupying workplaces.
12. The key now is to form action committees in workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods in order to organize the struggle from below. Such committees of struggle should fight for – and put pressure on SYRIZA to implement – a series of minimum and transitional demands in order to liberate Greece from the trauma of the capitalist crisis, and to prepare the road for a socialist revolution. These action committees could also form the basis for a workers’ government the task of which will be to expropriate the capitalist class and to replace the repressive state apparatus with popular militias.
13. The RCIT repeats that it is urgent to create a revolutionary pre-party organization to fight for an authentic socialist program and to unite activists on this basis. The RCIT looks forward to collaborating with Greek revolutionaries and to support them in achieving this goal.
The RCIT proposes to Greece’s socialists to fight for the following slogans:
* No support for the SYRIZA/ANEL government! Force SYRIZA to break up the popular front coalition with ANEL! For a SYRIZA minority government based on the support of mass struggles in the workplaces and streets!
* Cancel all debts!
* Expropriate the capitalists and in particular the so-called “50 families”!
* Nationalize the key corporations without paying compensation and place them under worker control!
* Break all links with EU institutions and leave the Eurozone!
* Significantly increase the minimum wage!
* For a public works program in order to rebuild the country!
* For the right of national self-determination for national minorities! Equality for migrants (full citizenship rights, right to use their native language, equal wages, etc.)!
* For a workers’ government based on action councils which will organize the workers and popular masses and establish an armed workers’ militia!
* For a workers’ republic in Greece! For a United Socialist States of Europe!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
For our analyses on Greece, we refer readers to:
* RCIT: Elections in
Greece: Vote SYRIZA but Don’t Trust the Tsipras Leadership! Organize the Struggle in Workplaces, Schools, and on the Streets! Fight for a Workers’ Government! 22.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-election-statement/
* RCIT: Greece: Honor
Pavlos Fyssas! Smash the fascist Golden Dawn, 21.9.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-smash-golden-dawn/
* RCIT: Greece: Down with
the Trial against Savas Michael-Matsas! 23.7.2013, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-solidarity-with-savas-matsas
* Nina Gunić: Solidarity
with the Hunger Strike in Greece! Forward to a Revolutionary Migrant Movement! April 2013, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-solidarity-with-migrant-strike
* Michael Pröbsting: After
the elections on 17th June: A new phase of the Greek Revolution is beginning! 19.6.2012, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-after-17-6-elections
* Michael Pröbsting:
Greece: For a Workers' Government! Critical electoral support for SYRIZA and KKE! Workers: Organize and prepare yourselves for the struggle for power! 6.6.2012, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-for-a-workers-government
* Michael Pröbsting: After SYRIZA’s victory in the Greek elections: The question
of a Workers Government and the revolutionary way forward, May 2012, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/after-the-greek-elections
* Michael Pröbsting: Perspectives on the Greek Revolution, 10.11.2011,