The Rise of Syriza: What are the Consequences for the Left?

Syriza has waltzed into power in Greece, now commanding nearly half the seats in the Greek parliament. A country fuelled on the woes of the economic and social crises of the Eurozone, it should be of no surprise that the electorate in Greece voted in a party that has boldly called for a halt on austerity. More broadly though, this message is resonating across Europe, and no more so than with those on the political left.

The bullying attitude of the troika, consisting of the hard faced European Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF, has forced Greece into unbelievable levels of debt. For many, the repercussions run deep. Across Europe, the mantra of cutting public services to achieve fiscal balance (considered by many academics to be the wrong priority), has l destroyed the lives and opportunities of many.

Here we find the hope amongst leftist circles. Syriza represents what can be achieved when citizens finally accept that enough is enough. The undemocratic processes of the European Union are seen as out of touch with the ordinary concerns of day to day life.  Thus unsurprisingly, left wing politics across Europe has seen a surge in scepticism about the political aims of the European Union.

As Costas Douzinas argues in The Guardian, Syriza represents a promise of true democracy. For the party, representative and localised democratic policies are seen as fundamental. A vote for the ideas of Syriza will call for ‘radical politics’ and ‘social mobilisation’. More simply, social justice will continue its thorny development across Europe.

“Syriza represents a promise of true democracy”

Importantly, the Greens in the UK have seen the victory of Syriza as a catalyst for change, and a symbol of hope against the tide of austerity in our country. A flagship policy of increasing powers for local councils can be seen also in Syriza; as well as other policies focusing on environmental welfare. Nationalisation, a dirty word amongst European Union officials, is promised by the Greens, Syriza and across most major left parties in Europe to combat the rampant inequalities and inefficiencies of the capitalist order.

Far too often the neoliberal consensus of most European nations has been to cause a politics of fear. George Monbiot has summarised it perfectly, by arguing that Syriza’s victory should be a signal that Europeans should follow their convictions. The consequences of this are hardly trifling, when we see that that if we in the UK voted for policies, instead of parties, the Greens would be the party of government (

Left wing politics has always offered Europeans hope. The message of Syriza’s victory is hope. The fight against the epoch of neoliberalism has only just begun.

Abdul Muktadir

Image courtesy of Jewish Herald

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