Syriza split as elections loom

Alexis Tsipras has become another austerity politician. Once the expression of the hopes of workers across Europe- Syriza have now joined the austerity consensus. Therefore the announcement that the left of Syriza are splitting to form a new party, Popular Unity, is to be welcomed.

Socialist Worker

Syriza split as elections loom

Alexis Tsipras has become another austerity politician. Once the expression of the hopes of workers across Europe- Syriza have now joined the austerity consensus. Therefore the announcement that the left of Syriza are splitting to form a new party, Popular Unity, is to be welcomed.

Syriza were elected on a platform of reforms- promising to end the humanitarian crisis in Greece. But the leading members of Syriza believed that it was possible to both end austerity and save Greek capitalism- and this miracle was to be performed while remaining in the Eurozone.

The bullying of the EU exposed this political weakness and laid the basis for a complete capitulation by Tsipras. Syriza labour minister, George Katrougalos, said the government needed to “reconfirm its mandate” to implement austerity in the form of the third Greek bailout and that the party is “crippled by a number of dissident MPs”.

25 left MPs have quit to form the new party. The anti-capitalist coalition, Antarsya, of which the Greek SWP is part, has called for a united movement to oppose the bailout deal and the cuts. It’s vital that the new party links up with the anti-capitalists and helps to focus the battles ahead.

It looks likely there will be elections in September. Most workers will vote for Syriza as they will not want to return to the old mainstream parties. But a serious radical left challenge to Syriza on the streets and at the ballot box can help prepare the ground for a break with the bullies of the EU.

In the end the crisis of Greek capitalism can only be solved by taking the wealth from the rich and putting it under democratic control- socialism. As important as any electoral challenge to Tsipras is it has to be subordinate to the building of mass working class resistance on the streets and in the workplaces.

The name ‘Popular Unity’ bears with it ghosts of the past- this was the name of Chilean socialist Salvador Allende’s movement. In Chile in 1973 Allende believed he could follow a ‘Chilean path to socialism’ and avoid the question of revolution. It was precisely this weakness that led to the Pinochet coup.

It’s vital those who have broken from Tsipras organisationally also make a break with ideas that tie the radical left to a strategy of running capitalism. We have to replace this rotten system- not run it.

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