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(en) Britain, RESISTANCE BULLETIN #159 - Syrizia: lessons from the Greek tragedy

Date Sat, 6 Feb 2016 15:42:43 +0200


Many volumes will be written over the coming years about the rise and fall of SYRIZA, but the immediate lessons are simple. Capitalism is sustained in part by the Left From European 'social democrats' supporting imperialist slaughter in World War One, and the French Communist Party winding down the 1968 General Strike, to SYRIZA rescuing the euro with Greek austerity, parliamentary Leftists have helped stabilise capitalism and defend war for over a century. With the euro teetering in the balance, it took Europe’s most radical government to save it. When people have had enough of the 'tough' anti-worker, anti-poor talk of the right, there is always somebody waiting in the wings to carry out much the same policies with a new face and a leftish sounding program. ---- When elected leaders say they are going to sell out, believe them

Even on the eve of the “OXI” referendum, SYRIZIA
leader Tsipras insisted that he was only going to use it
to negotiate a better deal in order to remain in the
Eurozone. He was doing everything he could to avoid a
Greek exit and was very open about it. The numbers in
the eventual austerity deal were even worse than
expected, but ultimately this is not a maths problem but
a political problem.

Electing radicals into powerful positions
disarms them

Taking a radical, giving them an enormous amount of
power, media attention, a generous living stipend, a
free car, etc. is a formula for turning them into just
another politician. This should be obvious. They become
accustomed to their position, to their own selfimportance,
and to playing by the rules of government
and business. Even worse, once they are in power,
others on the left suddenly become toothless and
placid, unable to stand the thought of fighting their own
friends.

Leftists will consistently cling to power
rather than dismantle it

Only two members of SYRIZA’s 'Left Platform' voted
against Tsipras’s proposal. Many even voted for it, or
like many in Labour's recent parliamentary votes simply
abstained. They could have used every parliamentary
tactic they had to sabotage the deal that the Greek
people had voted against. They could have split their
party, brought down the government and done
everything possible to pull the emergency break on this
disastrous plan. Instead they chose to maintain SYRIZA’s
hold on parliament and their position in it.

In spite of what they consistently say,
Leftists throughout the world are
waiting for a messiah to rescue them

Various self-described left-revolutionaries the world
over looked to SYRIZA to break the euro and defeat
austerity in Greece and beyond. All they had to do was
realise that a few dozen left-wing MPs were not up to
the task and would, as always, succumb to the pressure.
In spite of all the talk of working-class self-organisation,
many still believe that electing radical leaders into
parliament is a good strategy rather than a disaster
waiting to happen.

There is a bright and necessary future
for radical and revolutionary organising,
but it is in the workplaces, the prisons
and the streets, not in parliament

The problem is not that we have bad people, but bad
strategies. Even the best people falter when they take
parliamentary power. The more radically working class
and left-wing they are, the more everyone around them
believes they are immune from the pressures to
compromise their principles and sell out. The solution is
not to find better people to elect, but to use different
strategies.

These unsurprising sellouts will
continue happening until there is a
revolutionary struggle powerful enough
to fight for something else

So let’s build that instead.

Adapted and abridged from an article originally posted to
Libcom.org by Scott Jay in July 2015
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