15 July 2019 13:38

SYRIZA came to save the people, went saving the bourgeoisie!

Coming to power at the 2015 elections with populist left rhetoric and with popular slogan and pledges alluding to socialism, SYRIZA, proved that it is an ordinary system party.

SYRIZA Leader Alexis Tsipras (Photograph: Athens News Agency/AA)

İhsan Çaralan

The “centre right” New Democracy (ND) Party won the early general elections in Greece, having gained 158 members of parliament. The ND leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, forming a new government on his own, reached majority. SYRIZA, “the Coalition of the Radical Left,” led by Alexis Tsipras, emerging with 86 MPs, suffered a defat.

Coming to power at the 2015 elections with populist left rhetoric and with popular slogan and pledges alluding to socialism, SYRIZA, through its four years of power, managed to lose all its credibility amongst the public by carrying out EU’s plan to “colonise” Greece and proved that it is an ordinary system party.

To be sure, the people of Greece had brought both SYRIZA and its young, daring leader Alexis Tsipras, who disregarded rules and conventions and had pledged a future of security and wealth, as an option to save the country from EU exploitation and from being a slave to European banks. But the result has proven to be utter disappointment for those regarding SYRIZA as the saviour.


SYRIZA came to power at a time when the Greek economy was in deep crisis. The “technocrat government” led by Lucas Papademos and supported by social democrat PASOK, the centre right New Democracy (ND) Party and The Popular Orthodox Rally, LAOS, had not been able to implement “Troika’s 10 commandments.”

Riding on the wave of popular reaction surging against Papedemos and the parties supporting him, SYRIZA rose to power.

Before SYRIZA, there were two paths it could follow:

1-The 10 point “crisis exit plan” formed of European Union, IMF and European Central Bank representatives, the actual purpose of which was to recover European banks debts, and which comprised Troika measures such as the reduction of the wages of the pensioners and the employed, tax increases, the cancellation of 13th and 14th salaries, the loss of 150 thousand civil service jobs, the privatisation of large public enterprises etc, with the purpose of dumping the burden of the crisis on the Greek people;

2-For Tsipras to get the EU, the Greek capital which has pushed Greece into the quagmire of debt and interest and European banks to foot the bill of the crisis in accordance with the aspirations of the working people, for measures protecting the public from the destruction generated by the crisis to be taken. (And indeed, throughout his election campaign, Tsipras had followed a line which took into account such aspirations of the people, which reconsidered the EU-Greece relations to the extent of defending people’s demands with pledge and slogans that even brought leaving the EU onto the agenda.)


However, subsequent to winning the elections, instead of opposing the EU and the Troika by getting the surging popular movement behind him, as the defender of people’s right, Tsipras rather went onto bargaining to lighten the conditions of the Troika. And as for his influence over the people, he utilised it to persuade people to remain outside the struggle by withdrawing the people from the streets. Having reduced its role to the level of mediator between the Troika and peoples’ demands, SYRIZA, in fact, acted on the side of the Troika.

In short, SYRIZA rendered Troika’s programme of impositions into its government’s “exit programme from the crisis.”

As such, SYRIZA showed itself to be a version of the political tradition of social democrats, that is, socialist only in name but which, in reality, regards its main role as subservience to capitalists. And the election results themselves showed that SYRIZA has taken 4 years to walk the distance that has taken PASOK, the party of traditional social democracy in Greece, 65 years to navigate. For distance in today’s politics is traversed relatively quicker than the past. This is because the contradictions of the system have sharpened significantly.

Once it is considered how SYRIZA was promoted as a major resolution of the question of the “unity of left,” as an ideological and political renovation movement only but 4 years ago, that it generated serious discussions also within left groups; the results emerging in the recent elections, to be sure, imply something more than mere election results. By implication, the line followed by SYRIZA, is important with regards demonstrating the inevitable end of halfway house political movements.


President Erdoğan was first to congratulate Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the ND leader.

Drawing from this “prompt congratulation,” allusions were made to Mitsotakis’ father who served as a prime minister in 90s, his sister who served as a foreign minister and with the then “good” Greek-Turkish relations presented as grounds, claims were made about the development of good relations between the countries in also the new period.

However, in reality, what has transpired is that a nationalist right-wing leader has become the prime minister of Greece and he has not many things at his disposal which will address the public expectations. And of course, there is a “Cyprus question” and an “Aegean question” with Turkey which has become chronic just as the “Eastern Mediterranean question” with the same.

In contrast, in Turkey, there is a political power which comes to loggerheads with the public in almost all significant matters, which has nothing left at its disposal other than nationalism and exploitation of religion and one that is involved in promoting that it will surmount its issues through arming and clashing with its neighbours.

One cannot expect any compromise from either of these governments in the Aegean, Mediterranean or Cyprus. However, (even if it won’t end in war at the end) it would be more realistic to expect for the contradictions in these regions to grow and for the tension in between these countries to rise.

Its converse is only but temporary occasions. To expect more, with no other purposes behind it, would be to dream.