When SYRIZA won the elections British socialists celebrated, including certain parties who had been attacking Alexis Tsipras only a year earlier when he stopped in London on his way back from Hugo Chavez’s funeral. SYRIZA had beaten a system that had seen Greek politics run by three corrupt parties who were only interested in getting their friends in nice paid positions: PASOK, Nea Demokratia and the KKE. Those who were more educated on Greece and the situation knew that the election was not the end, but the beginning of the fight, even many SYRIZA supporters predicted that the new government wouldn’t last six months.
British Socialist Parties began to compare themselves with SYRIZA, it almost felt like SYRIZA would end austerity across all of Europe! Yet by the end SYRIZA were forced to sign a disappointing deal, which was only slightly better than the other parties would have done, after which the vultures of the British Left began their attack on SYRIZA.
It has become very clear that the British Left wanted Greece to collapse, which would have caused more death and suffering on the Greek people, in order to further their own battle against austerity. When Britain has screwed over Greece repeatedly over since its independence it feels like the beliefs these ‘Marxists’ are just another form of British imperialism, that the Greeks should suffer in order to help the British working class’s fight. Who the hell gave them that right, why should Greeks suffer for the British cause anymore.
Some Socialists started banging on about the KKE, despite the fact many of them knew nothing about the KKE before SYRIZA’s rise to power. Growing up, in our family kitchen we had a picture of Aris Velouchiotis, the greatest revolutionary Greece has probably ever produced. The KKE had sent Aris to the mountains to start a guerrilla struggle against Nazi occupation and Aris ended up building such a strong movement and army that they kicked the Nazis out of Greece and installed direct democracy in most of the villages and towns.
The British then marched into Greece and Churchill ordered the Partisans to give up their weapons, so they could install a British style democracy into the country and reinstate the King, who was in fact a German relation to the British royal
Last time I was in Athens I spent time with the anarchists who were part of huge riots rebelling against the police shooting of a fifteen year old boy. SYRIZA was the only party that didn’t make out the rioters were just a bunch of hooligans, for which the media branded him a supporter of the riots. As the financial crisis hit the Greek people completely lost faith in the three main parties, the composer and activist Mikis Theodorakis called for people to meet in the squares and discuss how to make a change, SYRIZA attended these meetings and listened to what the Greek people actually wanted. This was not a top down party like the others it was a bottom up one.
So when SYRIZA won the Greek election, Greece had for the first time in its history a party that represented the Greek people rather than the Western powers. The decisions SYRIZA made were based on what they believed the Greek people truly wanted rather than what their own ideologies dictated, the Greek people didn’t want to see their country collapse chasing utopian dreams they wanted food, housing, medicine and jobs, a complete collapse would not provide that it would only strengthen the fascists and the neo-liberals.
Yet British Socialists believed that they knew better than the Greek people what Greece needed, constantly banging on about a situation whose complexities they didn’t understand, particularly in regard to Greece’s relationship with Turkey and also what was on offer from Russia and China. Greece, Russia and China were not suicidal and none of them wanted to make a move that would potentially start a war with the military might of the US and Western Europe or the fact that the fascist Golden Dawn militants were perfect to use for a proxy war.
This arrogance of British socialists reminds me of the time British Socialists held a large conference were one of the speakers was kept secret for security reasons. Finally he was announced to be Gerry Adams, to which the British Socialists started to argue: was he a Socialist? Was he sound on this issue or that issue? But Adams started his speech (not word for word): “I know many of you British Socialists are arguing whether we at Sinn Fein are Socialists or whether we are good on women’s rights and homophobia. Well my response is that it’s none of your business, your only business as British Socialists is to make sure Britain stays out of our affairs, the rest is for us to decide”.
Only time will tell how the Greek people feel about Tsipras and SYRIZA and whether they will be able to last until the next election, maybe they need to take to the squares again to see what the Greek people want their next move to be, but I doubt that they will be paying any attention to the British Left and their utopian fantasies.