The Socialist 11 June 2014 |
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Greece: CWI councillors elected
Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece)
Syriza, the left party in Greece, is now the first party - 3.9 % ahead of right-wing capitalist party New Democracy in the European elections. But this difference is mainly due to loss of support for New Democracy. Syriza's vote has actually decreased since the June 2012 elections by 138,000 votes.
So while Syriza 'celebrates' being the first party, the governing coalition parties New Democracy and Pasok (the traditional social democratic party) are relieved, saying that Syriza has insufficient support to form a government. Syriza campaigned heavily on the idea of using the elections to get rid of the government: "On the 25th we vote, on the 26th they go" - was the central slogan of the campaign. But the coalition government is not in danger of an immediate collapse.
Feelings are very mixed, particularly in the ranks of Syriza. People are glad that Syriza is the first party and can aim to win the government in the next elections.
But it's clear that Syriza is not strong enough to have a majority government or to cause the fall of the government in the immediate future as many were hoping.
Another factor that makes for a very reserved enthusiasm even among Syriza's rank and file is the high vote received by Golden Dawn, receiving close to 9.5% of the vote. This is despite the fact that Golden Dawn is now proven to be a murderous gang, with most of its first line leadership in custody and well known to be a Nazi organisation with ample evidence provided by the media and the judiciary system.
Actually the rise of Golden Dawn is fundamentally a result of the depth of the crisis and the complete inability to show a way out by the parties of the left.
Syriza has been moving more and more to the right in the course of the last couple of years and the KKE (Greek communist party) and Antarsya (the 'anti-capitalist left' alliance) follow a sectarian policy of refusing to collaborate.
Local elections took place at the same time as the Euroelections. Xekinima stood a total of 20 members in different city, district and regional councils. We chose to stand with lists that had a militant profile and a unifying approach towards other forces of the left. One of the slogans we used frequently was "Vote for the Left - fight to bring the government down". In about 60% of cases, we stood with Syriza, in others with Antarsya and in the case of one local council with the KKE. Xekinima was the only organisation to stand together with all the parties of the left.
Xekinima's campaign was an independent campaign, based on our own material and with our own positions. Our results have been very good.
Nikos Kanellis, standing with Syriza, was elected in the district council around the city of Volos with an exceptionally good vote - around 750 votes, which placed him fourth out of 56 candidates.
Costas Iatropoulos was elected in the city council of Volos, receiving around 650 votes which placed him second. Marianthi Kypridou came fourth in the same election with around 470 votes - it's not yet clear, as the official final results have not come out yet, but there is a good chance that she too will be on the city council of Volos.
Antarsya did badly in the Euroelections, but in the local elections it received a respectable 2.5%. In Zografou, Xekinima collaborated with Antarsya and the common list, called 'Zografou Movement' received around 4%. This is a success which is largely being put down to Xekinima's participation by left activists. Xekinima member Irene Ploumbidi received the greatest number of individual votes, coming first out of 38 candidates - an extraordinary 15% of the total vote received by the Zografou Movement.
These elections were the biggest campaign ever launched by Xekinima. We produced a total of 250,000 leaflets which went everywhere. And our intervention has had an impact - the best of our results will be noted by the left across the country.
Xekinima sold over 1,200 copies of its paper, had about 20 successful public meetings, and had a number of new members joining our ranks.