Greek Elections Result in Victory for the Reformist SYRIZA
The Central Task Now is to Prepare for the Coming Class Battles and to Forge a New Workers’ Party with a Revolutionary Program!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 22.9.2015, www.thecommunists.net
- The Greek elections on 20 September resulted in a victory for SYRIZA, a bourgeois workers party, and a defeat for the main bourgeois party New Democracy (ND). The new leftist party LAE (Popular Unity), which recently split from SYRIZA, got only 2.86% of the votes, below the required threshold, and therefore just missed entering the parliament. Tsipras already announced the continuation of his popular front government together with the right-wing populist ANEL party. Here are the official results compared with those from the previous elections in January 2015:
Party Seats Percent Votes
Figures for the January 2015 Election in parentheses
Syriza 145 (149) 35.47% (36.34%) 1,920,837 (2,246,064)
New Democracy (ND) 75 (76) 28.09% (27.81%) 1,521,327 (1,718,815)
Golden Dawn (XA) 18 (17) 6.99% (6.28%) 378,732 (388,447)
Pasok 17 (13) 6.28% (4.68%) 340,190 (289,482)
KKE 15 (15) 5.55% (5.47%) 300,465 (338,138)
To Potami 11 (17) 4.09% (6.05%) 221,345 (373,868)
Anel 10 (13) 3.69% (4.75%) 199,782 (293,371)
Unionof Centrists 9 3.43% 185,939
Popular Unity (LAE) – 2.86% 154,716
ANTARSYA-EEK – 0.85% (0.68% *) 46,016 (41,896)
(* For the ANTARSYA-EEK block we have combined the votes of the two forces when they ran separately in the January elections, receiving 0.64% and 0.04% respectively.)
- These results are remarkable for several reasons. Participation in the election was down to 56.6%, 7% less than that in the January election. Nearly all parties lost votes. Nevertheless the reformist Tsipras leadership succeeded in convincing the majority of the working class that it is the lesser of two evils when compared to the main party of the Greek bourgeoisie, New Democracy. Hence, while SYRIZA lost more than 300,000 votes, it still remained the preferred option for Greek workers despite its treacherous support for the barbaric Third Memorandum dictated by the EU. It succeeded in doing so because Tsipras managed to present the election as a struggle between SYRIZA and ND and, faced with this alternative, Greek workers preferred “their” party compared to that of the bourgeoisie. This only emphasizes how much more struggle, experience and intervention of revolutionaries will be necessary to break the working class from the reformist SYRIZA leadership.
- The fascist Golden Dawn (XA) was able to slightly increase its vote to 7%. While this represents no breakthrough, it means that the Nazis have managed to consolidate themselves in third place from where they are well-positioned for future successes. There is no doubt that, given the inevitable future betrayals of the SYRIZA-led government, the fascists will profit from wholesale worker disillusionment if a new, militant workers’ party fighting against the EU’s and the government’s austerity attacks does not emerge in time.
- The Communist Party (KKE), another left-reformist, bourgeois workers’ party, retained their meager 5.5% result from the January elections. This means that they were entirely unable to gain from SYRIZA’s betrayal. This is hardly surprising given the KKE’s sectarian denouncement of SYRIZA, relinquishing a united front tactic which manifested itself when these Stalinists actually abstained in the fateful and historic 5 July referendum. All in all, after nearly seven years of crisis, numerous general strikes and political instability of the bourgeois rule, the Stalinist KKE is weaker than before. Nevertheless, it would be an error to ignore KKE’s control of important sectors of the workers’ vanguard. Likewise, it is clear that despite the apparent monolithic unity of the party, many supporters are dissatisfied with the party’s line.
- Popular Unity (LAE), the recent left split from SYRIZA, got more than 150,000 votes which meant that, with 2.9% of the vote, they failed to cross the 3% threshold required to enter the parliament. Their voting numbers reflect that this new force managed to rally a significant sector of the workers’ vanguard. At the same time it failed to win over larger sectors of the working class which still adheres to SYRIZA. It is likely that LAE – a coalition of left-reformist and centrist forces – will now undergo an internal crisis. Those former SYRIZA functionaries who joined LAE in order to keep their parliamentary posts, will probably soon leave the new party. It also means that LAE is now under more pressure to prove itself as an activist party mobilizing on the streets and in the workplaces and trade unions. Under these conditions, and given the fact that the new force is still politically unconsolidated, it is urgent that revolutionaries intervene in the debates in LAE and try to win supporters for a revolutionary program and perspective.
- ANTARSYA-EEK slightly increased their combined votes, but still gained only 0.8% of the ballots cast. ANTARSYA, an alliance of various centrist groups, has also failed to grow during recent years of the deep capitalist crisis and mass class struggles. We repeat our criticism that they have failed to apply the united front tactic by putting forth demands to SYRIZA and finding ways to engage the workers who trust the latter party in joint activities. Likewise, if ANTARSYA would have found a way to run together with LAE on a joint list both would have entered the parliament and used it as tribune to denounce the popular front government.
- All in all the workers’ parties increased their share of the votes compared with the 25 January elections. The combined vote of (reformist and centrist) workers’ parties was 44.7% compared with 42.5% 8 months ago. These numbers exhibit a dramatic change in support of the left when compared to the situation in the period between the 1970s and the beginning of the 2000s when workers parties (mainly the KKE) got no more than 10% of the votes.
- Revolutionaries should now raise the slogan for a SYRIZA-KKE government which rejects the Memorandum. Of course we are well aware that the respective leaderships of SYRIZA and the KKE would not implement such demands. But such agitation would help revolutionaries get a hearing among the supporters of these parties. They should combine such a slogan with propaganda for a workers’ government, i.e., one based on workers’ and popular councils and militias whose goal is to expropriate the capitalist class and to open the road to working class power.
- It would be wrong to believe that there is a politically stable future for the renewed SYRIZA-ANEL government. Quite the contrary, as the effects of the Third Memorandum are soon to be felt by the people in the coming months and only more attacks lie ahead. Rather it is far more likely that there will be new class struggles and internal tensions in SYRIZA.
- To manage these challenges revolutionaries are now faced with two crucial tasks. It is decisive that they intervene in the ongoing debates among the workers’ vanguard. They should advocate the formation of a workers’ party – which most likely would be composed from forces in LAE, ANTARSYA, EEK, OKDE as well as potentially left splits from the KKE and SYRIZA. They should argue for a revolutionary program and a plan of battle for the looming class struggles. Likewise, revolutionaries should argue for the application of the united front tactic calling for joint struggles of all workers’ parties (among which SYRIZA is of course the largest force). Such a tactic is necessary not because it can be easily realized (the hardened bureaucracy of SYRIZA and KKE may never agree to it), but because it is the best way to engage in joint activities with those workers who still adhere to these parties and who still form the bulk of the workers’ movement. Under such conditions, revolutionaries will find it easier to get these workers to listen to their criticism of these leaderships. The RCIT looks forward to collaborating with all revolutionaries who agree with such a perspective!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
For our analyses on Greece, we refer readers to:
* RCIT: Upcoming Elections in Greece: Down with the Pro-Memorandum Parties! Critical Support for LAE (Popular Unity)! For a New Workers’ Party with a Revolutionary Program! For Working Class Internationalism instead of Narrow-minded, Nationalistic Left Reformism! 13.9.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/critical-vote-for-lae/
* RCIT: Greece: SYRIZA Splits after Tsipras-Government Capitulates to the EU. For a new Workers’ Party with a Revolutionary Program instead of nationalist narrow-minded Left Reformism, 25.8.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/syriza-splits/
* RCIT: SYRIZA betrays Greece’s Workers and Poor – “OXI” was not meant as a “YES” to another austerity program! For the organization of mass resistance against the betrayal of the Tsipras government! Left wing in SYRIZA: Fight against the party leaders who are lackeys of the EU-Bosses! 11.7.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/syriza-betrayal/
* RCIT: 61.3% Vote OXI in the Greek Referendum: A Victory for the Entire European Working Class! A battle has been won, but the war against the EU and IMF continues! Nationalize the banks and media under workers’ control! 6.7.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-after-referendum/
* RCIT: Greetings to All Greek Socialists Who Are Campaigning for a Vote of OXI in 5 July Referendum. Solidarity Message from the RCIT, 3.7.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-solidarity-greetings/
* RCIT: Referendum in Greece on 5 July: Vote OXI! against the EU-Troika! No to any Austerity Program! Break with the EU and IMF! Nationalize the Banks and Media under Workers’ Control! 30.6.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-referendum-oxi/
* RCIT: Greetings to All Greek Socialists Who Are Campaigning for a Vote of OXI in 5 July Referendum, 3.7.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-solidarity-greetings/
* Brazil Trade Unionists: Solidarity with the Greek Resistance against the EU-Troika! http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/brazil-solidarity-with-greece/
* RCIT: Greece: No to the Surrender of the SYRIZA Leadership! 26.2.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/syriza-surrenders/
* RCIT: Greek Elections: SYRIZA Wins … and Forms an Alliance with Reactionary Racists! 27.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-syriza-anel/
* 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, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/greece-revolution-or-tragedy