Greece: Another Failure of Neo-Reformism

By Miguel Sorans

Syriza is the expression of a new failure of the projects of the reformist left in the XXI century. Millions in Europe and Latin America break with the old parties and turn left seeking a fundamental change. This is what has been happening in Latin America in the last 15 years; with the PT governments of Lula and Dilma in Brazil and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela as the most prominent.

In Europe, as a result of the capitalist crisis and the cuts by the Troika, this turn has been expressed in demonstrations and electorally in Syriza, in Podemos, in the mayors of Madrid and Barcelona or in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Great Britain. We define as neo reformism these new and different political movements or formations. New because they come to occupy the place left by the fall of the apparatus of the bureaucracy of the former USSR and the communist parties. Also by the fall of the European social democracy due to the crisis that has been demolishing the PSOE, the French PS or PASOK in Greece, which were making it clear they are direct agents of imperialism and the EU. Throughout the last century the global apparatus of Stalinism stopped the revolutionary demonstrations and urged the governments of class conciliation, of unity with bourgeois sectors supposedly “democratic” and “progressive”.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the hatred of the masses to the bureaucratic and reformist apparatus of the bureaucracies of the Communist Parties and Social Democrats resulted in millions to begin looking for alternatives. The absence of a strong revolutionary socialist pole has also facilitated the emergence of these “new left” variations which take on a centrist program, which do not claim socialism as the goal of this change and which reject the formation of parties for revolutionary action. They drive “broad” movements or parties, essentially directed to the electoral and parliamentary activity, with internal tendencies revolving around the central leadership, sometimes directly a oneman leadership, and not driving or being centred on the mobilisation and organisation of workers and youth as key factors to face the bosses’ governments and to achieve substantive changes.

Syriza: another failure

In the last two or three years Syriza was transformed in the dazzling “star” of the European and international left. What is its origin? It is a party that emerged from a coalition of several left Eurocommunist parties, former PASOK socialists, Maoists, Trotskyists and environmentalists, and which was first introduced to elections in 2004. Its main force was Synaspismos, of Eurocommunist origin, oriented by Tsipras and which was already a party in 1991. In July 2013 the coalition becomes a legal broad party, they designate a Central Committee and Tsipras is re-elected as president. In its statement of principles it is defined as “a party founded on Marxist thought”. And they adopt ambiguous points as that their objective is a society “based on social ownership and management”. And some not as ambiguous as that they will strive for the “nullification of the Memoranda of austerity” (note by Amelie Poinssot in Mediapart, 31 July, 2013).

In January 2015 they win the election by 36.6 percent when years earlier they did not reach 5 percent. They form a government of class collaboration, what we call a “popular front”, with the “shadow of the bourgeoisie”, in the words of Leon Trotsky. They formed government with the nationalist right Independent Greeks, giving them the important Ministry of Defence. And so they backslid in the way of the old reformist utopia of wanting to achieve a “positive” settlement for the hardships of the masses at the negotiating table with the major imperialist powers. False discourse to sell out and end up yielding. They discard the workers’ and popular mobilisation. In Greece there were about 30 general strikes. This was the deciding factor, even for Syriza to come to government. They quickly fell in direct betrayal, just six months after taking office.

Full article in International Correspondence issue N˚ 37•October 2015.