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Syriza must stay left of the line – more is at stake than Greece

Mitchell, B. (2015) “Syriza must stay left of the line – more is at stake than Greece“, Bill Mitchell Blog, 24 March.


There were regional elections in the autonomous community of Andalusia (Spain) over the weekend which saw the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) hold onto power. The results showed that the left-wing political party – Podemos – which received nearly 8 per cent of the Spanish vote (5 seats) at the European Parliament elections in May 2014, was third in the Anadulusian election, gaining 15 of the 109 seats. The parallels with Syriza in Greece are now routinely being made. I am forming the view, however, that unless things change rather dramatically in Greece, Syriza may actually end up only undermining progressive agendas in Europe as they self-destruct under the iron fist of the Troika (I do not use the terms “the institutions” or the “Brussels Group”). This is of great interest to me at present because I am sketching out a 2016 book project at present with a co-author, which broadly focuses on the demise of the left and social democratic movements in the World, although we might pare the scope down with more discussion to concentrate on Europe. Of particular interest is the morbid inferiority of the French left relative to the Germans in the Post World War II period and the way in which American Monetarism has infiltrated and built on that inferiority. Much of the design of the monetary union can be understood through that sort of lens. So a broad canvas right now but that is always the case. Of immediate interest, though, is the possibility that Syriza will set progressive causes back rather than become the spearhead for a sweeping change in Europe and the end of this destructive era of neo-liberalism.
By way of background, the Socialists (PSOE) have been the ruling party in Andalusia since 1982 when the region became an autonomous community and held elections for the first time.

Some press reports have claimed that Podemos “made spectacular inroads in elections in the Spanish region of Andalusia” and that the “vote showed the anti-austerity sentiment that brought Syriza to power in Greece has now taken root in Spain” (Source).

But with the region the epicentre of the housing collapse, entrenched mass unemployment and a range of – corruption scandals – miring the Socialist Party, one wonders whether the result for Podemos is really as strong as some are suggesting.


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