The defeat of the left, and the recomposition in Greece

by Colleen Bolger

Workers demonstrate in July against the memorandum

Workers demonstrate in July against the memorandum

The Greek ruling party, Syriza, won a convincing victory in the national election held on 20 September, winning 144 seats, down from the 149 seats won on 25 January. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigned last month to make way for the poll after he signed a third memorandum with the country’s creditors. That agreement will deliver the harshest austerity yet experienced.

The calling of the election precipitated a significant split in Syriza, with more than two dozen rebel MPs forming Popular Unity (LAE by its Greek acronym). The new organisation also drew in 11 other organisations of the far left beyond Syriza’s membership as well as two significant factions of Antarsya, an anti-capitalist electoral front of a few thousand members. Yet it achieved a disappointing 2.9 percent of the vote – short of the 3 percent threshold required for parliamentary representation. [Read more…]

A historic vote in Greece, but challenges ahead

greece1

by Colleen Bolger

It is the morning after the biggest celebration Greece has seen since the fall of military rule. An emphatic 61 percent of people voted OXI (“no”) in the country’s referendum on whether to accept European-enforced austerity.

People gathered in Syntagma Square in central Athens and in squares around the country. Families celebrated together in their lounge rooms with neighbours. Friends came together in bars.

This was more than a party. It was a social convulsion after five years of bitter austerity. [Read more…]