Syriza — the grand illusion

MILLIONS of Greeks are rejoicing at the defeat of the old guard in last weekend’s general election. There’s been a similar chorus of approval from the ranks of the left social democrats in the rest of Europe who tell us that earth-shattering events are happening in Greece amid hopes that the Syriza victory will give added credibility to the likes of the German Linke or the so-called Communist Party of France.

The conservative New Democracy party vote largely held and Syriza’s gains have mainly been at the expense of the old Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) who barely managed to scrape back into parliament this time round. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), who have long campaigned to expose Syriza’s bogus platform, actually went up and they now have 15 seats in the new parliament.

Syriza’s victory at the polls does, of course, reflect the hopes of millions of Greeks who have been reduced to penury because of the austerity regime imposed on the country by Franco-German imperialism. The old guard parties of the left and right, like PASOK and New Democracy, which were willing tools of the EU diktats that have led to mass unemployment and forced millions of others onto bread-line wages, have been punished by the electorate. But in essence nothing has changed.

In Britain where the communist movement is weak Labour’s leaders have nothing to betray apart from the ideals of their long-dead founders. They are under no pressure to even promise more than a few paltry reforms to retain their traditional working class support. In those parts of Europe where the communist movement is strong and the resistance to austerity is growing, left social-democratic movements have sprung up to draw the mass movements away from revolutionary change and take them down the path of compromise and sell-out.

It has already begun in Greece. Because Syriza failed to gain an absolute majority in parliament it has had to find coalition partners. The Greek communists want nothing to do with them. But Syriza has found a willing partner in the Independent Greeks, a split from New Democracy that combines hostility to the EU with anti-immigrant slogans and support for the reactionary Orthodox Church.

Syriza, the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left, is a front of a number of left social-democratic and Trotskyist trends whose core is the old “Eurocommunist” wing of the Greek communist movement that split in 1968. It is essentially an anti-communist front that cloaks its opportunist programme with pseudo-Marxist babble to divert workers from revolutionary change and along the barren road of reform and class collaboration.

Syriza’s leaders claim to be leading the fight against the strictures of the European Union while at the same time arguing that the EU can be reformed and that the bail-out terms and conditions can be renegotiated to benefit working people. Syriza poses as an anti-imperialist movement but it is not calling for Greece to withdraw from Nato. Syriza claims to represent Greek workers and preaches socialism. In reality, its programme is a just the Keynesian model of class collaboration that European social-democracy has embraced for decades.

In fact, all that has happened is that Syriza has won the most seats in a bourgeois election. That isn’t winning state power nor is Greece in a dual power situation. The Greek bourgeois state isn’t about to crumble and the only thing that will be shattered is the hopes and dreams of Greek workers who voted for Syriza in the belief that this would end austerity and lead to a new era of social justice.