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Greece elections discussed lively by left-activists in packed house

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On the same day as the visit of Greece new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Die Linke Berlin Internationals group organised a timely debate on the elections in Greece. With representatives Nicos Tzanakis from SYRIZA, Lefteris Arabatzis representing ANTARSYA, and German member of parliament Andrej Hunko the evening saw a lively discussion in a packed party headquarters by over 70 people. It was felt by all that participants that these elections have been a shock for the elites and are a sign of hope for normal people in Europe.

Greece before and after the elections

During his intervention Nikos Tzanakis gave a brief overview of how SYRIZA was able to claim victory in last week’s elections. According to Nikos “The crisis was, by the neoliberal parties, projected to be a punishment for the Greek people’s sins of being lazy and corrupt.

At first it was difficult to convince people not to accept this ‘punishment’. Only when SYRIZA was able to break this image and said it was willing to be brought into power by the people with an alternative programme, not bent on punishing people it gained broad support.

This alternative, summed up in the programme of Thessaloniki should provide the people of Greece both the basic necessities such as electricity and water as well as kickstart fundamental democratisation of society.” He concluded: “We cannot build our programme alone, from Greece, we need our allies such as Podemos in Spain to win.”

Although ANTARSYA is hopeful, it is also critical said Lefteris Arabatzis. According to the representative of the radical left-wing organisation the real test now comes from the ability to build pressure from below.

“The election result was made possible only after a build up of struggles and activism during the crisis years. We need more of this and we need militant forms, such as occupations of closed factories by workers.”

He pointed to the 11th of February that will see a day of action in support of, amongst others, employees of state media organisations that have been fired during the crisis. He concluded: “The whole of Europe is looking to Greece, and Greece needs active solidarity from the European working class.”

Solidarity in Germany

Die Linke’s Andrej Hunko, concluded the panel discussion with his reflections. “We are now in a living in historic times where the future is uncertain.” He pointed out that the left victory in Greece opened space for a wider front to resist the ‘German’ Europe of the austerity politics.

As the speakers before he underlined the importance for international support. “We have to fight for as much room of manoeuvre for the SYRIZA government so that they have the possibility to pursue their left politics. We need to do all we can to use this historic opportunity for a shift in the balance of power.”

The fact that today the finance minister of Greece was welcomed to Berlin by one hundred activists showing solidarity with Greece was a first hopeful sign. This show of solidarity was immediately celebrated on social media platforms by Greek people.

DIE LINKE Berlin Internationals group wants to organise solidarity in Berlin and support a European wide movement to defeat austerity politics. It therefore calls for mobilisation in the Blockupy protest on the 18th of March and invites all left wing activists to join in its monthly meetings.

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