Home > IV Online magazine > 2023 > IV581 - June 2023 > Many questions after the defeat of the left in Greece


Many questions after the defeat of the left in Greece

Saturday 3 June 2023, by Andreas Sartzekis

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New parliamentary elections will be held on 25 June: the right, with New Democracy (ND), looks set to win by a large margin, but anything remains possible, as no one can explain ND’s strong victory and Syriza’s considerable fall, which has benefited ND and Pasok above all, the formerly left-wing party that is trying to re-emerge after having co-managed submission to the troika with ND.

New Democracy is also playing it safe ahead of 25 June, still unsure of how solidly it will be reinforced. If ND wins, the attacks will worsen, given the austerity recommendations from Brussels, in a context where the far right with its various components, apart from those integrated into ND, has obtained between 8 and 9%.

How deeply rooted is the right?

All the signs were pointing, if not to defeat, at least to a sharp fall in ND’s share of the vote (39.85% in 2019): although it has fulfilled its mission for its electorate to the tune of 200%, it has also demonstrated its incompetence in the face of hardship (Athens paralysed by snow, inability to deal with the fires in Evia, overwhelming responsibility for the Tèmbi rail disaster, etc.). ), it has met with strong resistance in the face of its social and cultural attacks and its repression, and it has been implicated in scandals and illegal practices (eavesdropping, refoulement of refugees). And yet, it has gained one point and 150,000 votes, and is the leading party even among young people aged 17-24 (31.5%, compared with 28.8% for Syriza).

Some see this as a profound decline in class consciousness (post-Covid), and questions are being asked about the "brainwashing" effect of most of the media in the hands of oligarchs linked to ND. The campaign based on fear and the last-minute gifts may also have played a role, but the fact remains that the balance of power on the right may be fragile, given that 20% of voters chose on the last day, 51% voting for ND and 13% for Syriza, or when 43% of voters explain ND’s victory by the weaknesses of the left, 25% by the support of the media, and only 28% by the work of the government...
What prospects for the left?

Since Sunday, questions have been asked about the reasons for Syriza’s surprising fall (-11.5 points, -600,000 votes), without this benefiting the other left-wing parties (a little to the Greek KKE PC: +1.9 points, +130,000 votes; Varoufakis’ Mera: -0.8 points, -40,000 votes; Antarsya +0.13 points, +8,500 votes). Some fear that in June the fall will be even more pronounced, a premonition of collapse; others, like KKE, Pasok and the right, hope so. It’s hard to predict even the short term!

What we’ve been stressing here since Syriza’s first successes (when it broke through the 3% barrier) is its weakness: Syriza, even though it has grown from 30,000 to 170,000 members, has never built itself as a militant party, and has little presence in the struggles (in the recent student elections, won by KKE, its current got 4%...). Its intended "centre-left" positioning has not convinced many people, and its campaign "for a government of progress" towards Pasok has above all enabled the latter’s leadership to regain its health while spitting on this proposal.

But despite this strategic impasse within the framework of the reformist impasse, what is certain is that if the Greek stock market was euphoric this week, it was because of Syriza’s defeat: unlike most of the leaders of the political left, the capitalists know that a Syriza victory would above all have been a victory for the workers, with the "danger" of mobilisations to challenge the ultra-liberal smash-and-grab. And the fact that all the groups to the left of Syriza are only up by 2.8 points despite Syriza’s 11.5% fall shows the urgency of the situation: do everything possible to unite the working-class and popular left against the right, with, as Antarsya rightly hopes, a strong anti-capitalist left.

1 June 2023

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


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