Syriza Flags

“Syriza is Greece’s last best hope.”

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Introduction

Greece is experiencing a triple crisis which has a profound impact on the economy, society and political system. The economy has experienced a deep, prolonged depression lasting six years and continuing. Workers and employees have suffered a 40% loss in income and a commensurate decline in medical, pension, educational and welfare benefits. The political system has witnessed a precipitous decline in electoral support for previously dominant right and center left parties and the rapid rise of  radical democratic-socialist and fascist parties.

The socio-economic effects of the crash of the economy have been exacerbated by the “austerity programs” imposed by the European Unions’ triumvirate. The economic cuts have undermined any economic recovery and accentuated the reductions in employment, social welfare and public investments.

The political consequences resulting from the extremely harsh policies of the EU and their forceful implementation by the right and center parties have been dramatic. A vast upheaval has shaken the entire political system. Previously dominant mainstream parties have been increasingly rejected, while formerly marginal democratic socialist and radical right wing parties have made major advances.

The political consequences of the demise of Greek capitalism require a closer look at the prospects for an electoral victory for the democratic socialists in the immediate future.

The Rise of Syriza

The rise of the democratic socialists, more specifically Syriza, has been rapid and substantial. Between October 2009 and 2014 it has grown by a multiple of five:  In the elections of October 2009 Syriza got 4.6% of the vote (315,665); in May 2012 16.8% (1,061,928) and in the most recent elections for the Euro parliament 26.l6% (1,516,699). In contrast the two previously dominant parties, the rightwing New Democracy (ND) and the Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) have experienced a precipitous decline. In October 2009, combined ,they got 77.4%, (5,308, 261); in May 2012, 32% (2,025,555); and in the recent Europarlimentary elections 30.7% (1,753,592).

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