Since the electoral success of the left social-democratic Syriza coalition in Greece, and the immediate challenge to austerity and the rule of finance capital in Europe that it represents, many people are understandably keen to consider how this could be repeated in the UK. While it is clear to everyone that Syriza is not presently a revolutionary outfit and not seeking to become one in the short term, it is equally clear that for a sustained left challenge to the politics of the last few decades to emerge from this countermovement requires a deepening of political organization of the left across Europe. The northern European left has an important role to play here because of the very real possibility of isolating a left confined to Greece alone, or even just Greece, Portugal, and Spain. If we are to break the back of the intellectual coalition between the neoliberal social imagination and the economic policies of austerity and debt enforcement, it is of the greatest importance that the left in the creditor countries makes a priority of making the enforcement of such regimes by their own governments impossible – not just domestically, but internationally. In the current European context, internationalism is not just a desirable principle but an absolute precondition for success.
The long-awaited results of the elections for the vouli of the Hellenic Republic are in. In all media, the battle was presented as simple two-sided affair: for or against the austerity policies imposed by the Western European creditor governments and supported by the comprador classes in Greece itself. This was further complicated in electoral terms by the plurality bonus law passed in the last pre-crisis session of parliament, which awards the plurality winner a 50 MP bonus over and above their proportion of the vote. This was transparently intended as an arrangement to assure that PASOK or ND, the two dominant parties, would have to share power as little as possible and to guarantee an oligarchic identical two-party rule in the style of the United States, without having to resort entirely to plurality district-based systems. The bons hommes of ND and PASOK did not count on their support ever seriously falling below the level that would guarantee them power in this way, and yet this is what the current crisis of capitalism has achieved. At the final tally, even with the plurality bonus ND+PASOK stand together at 149 seats, just short of the 151 majority; the first time in post-dictatorial history in Greece that the two parties have not even managed a majority together, let alone separately. Continue reading “The Greek Election Results”