Greece: Political Resolution of the First Congress of SYRIZA

Over July 10-15, 2013, congress delegates of SYRIZA, the coalition of radical left parties in Greece, voted to form itself into a unitary party. This is the political resolution from the congress. Translation by Left.gr.

1. The conference of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is a continuity and a breakthrough in its course, which started in 2000, continued with its official founding in 2004, and was sealed when it took on the historic responsibility to deliver the Greek people from the catastrophic neoliberal memoranda policies that have turned our country into a debt colony and led its creative, social, and productive forces to marginalization.

2. SYRIZA has been established as a unified, democratic, multi-tendency, mass party of the contemporary Left for the strengthening of an already powerful popular movement of subversion with the aim of cancelling the memoranda, erasing most of the debt and implementing a program of social and productive reconstruction. This alternative radical social and political plan – which will express and be based on the alliance between the working and popular classes, on the one hand, and the middle classes of the town and the countryside, on the other, and which will be structured by the needs of and give voice to the large groups of the socially, economically, and educationally excluded – will lead to the Government of the Left and will support it when it is in power.


3. The global structural crisis of capitalism, after decades of profit accumulation and huge redistribution of wealth and power in favor of capital, affects this or that way every country and every aspect of social life. This overaccumulation crisis is mainly characterized by inflation of the financial sector, based on the unimpeded circulation of money, which leads to the submission of the political personnel to financial power, the instrumentalization and commercialization of knowledge and information, and the biopolitical operation of the system. We are living what is called “the shock doctrine”, which means an attack to such an extent and scale that resistance seems weak or there is even no time for it to appear. Extreme austerity policies, shrinking and precarious employment, privatization of public goods and companies, destruction of large part of the productive forces, dramatic reduction in the welfare state, weakening of democratic institutions, strengthening of repression and emergency powers were all employed to maintain capital dominance and global profitability. The unemployment rate is at about 30%, exceeding 60% among young people, while the economic emigration of young scientists is increasing dangerously. Globalized capital continues to exhaust its profitability margins in “Third World” countries, where local wars are raging and huge migration flows are created.

4. Europe is involved in the whirlwind of the global capitalist crisis that affects the popular classes, with greater severity in the countries of the South and in the former so-called socialist countries. The raison d’être of a United Europe to the benefit of its peoples is disappearing from the horizon. The euro is being treated mostly as a vehicle of the German policy, deepening inequalities between countries and between classes, while Asian models are applied in European societies in favor of capital. The future of the Euro zone as well as of the European Union itself is becoming more and more precarious. An undeclared world war is under way with the major currencies trying to gain more advantageous positions. The policy of austerity and recession corrodes the bonds between European countries, strengthens euroscepticism and anti-Europeanism, heightens nationalist tensions and facilitates the resurgence of fascism.

5. In Greece, very harsh measures that lead large parts of the population to a humanitarian crisis are implemented by the troika of the European Union, IMF, and European Central Bank, with Germany playing a dominant role in the European strategy. National resources, public goods and companies are put under privatization/sell-off. Production collapses, tens of thousands of small and medium-sized companies close down, public services dismantle, the welfare state is constantly shrinking, and large parts of the population are deprived of health, education, pension, and social security.

6. Against this attack of capital there are movements of resistance developing on a global level. In Greece a large popular current of struggles for subversion has been giving its battle against memoranda and debt in mass terms, in squares, in the workplace, in neighborhoods, in towns and in the countryside, reconstituting old social movements and creating new ones. We should refer emblematically to the great strikes and demonstrations of workers, the movement of the ‘indignant’, the movement in Skouries [against the mining of gold] and in Keratea [against the opening of a landfill], in Evros [against the building of immigrant detention centers and fence], in the movements against special property tax and against paying tolls, in the antifascist movement and the movement in defense of ERT [the national broadcaster].

It is important to also refer to the great movement of solidarity that is developing throughout the country. Under the slogan “no-one’s alone in the crisis” and on an equal basis – everyone offers according to their ability and receives according to their needs – multiform structures and solidarity networks are created. These networks respond to the issues of food, health, and generally immediate basic needs. Next to this movement and often in cooperation, we see the development of a “movement against intermediaries” that supports producers who offer their products at low prices and at the same time consumers who buy these controlled products inexpensively.

The movements in our country meet up with the massive and militant movements and the popular uprisings in the countries of Southern Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal, which create a reasonable potential of ruptures in the Europe of capital and neoliberalism. As the crisis has taken global dimensions, resistance is multiplying on an international level. Struggles in Greece also meet up with the movement “Occupy Wall Street”, the uprisings in the Arab world with the characteristic example of the Egyptian people and the Left that continue to struggle for democracy and social justice, as well as the movement of the Turkish people, who massively and militantly questioned social injustices and the antidemocratic administration of Erdogan. Movements of resistance against class inequalities and in defense of human dignity are developing all over the world, typical example of which is the uprising in Brazil against inequality and provocative waste of money on large projects.


7. Today’s world is multipolar but not peaceful or fair. Next to the imperialist presence of the US, which are now undergoing a decline in their power, China is emerging, affecting conflicts of interest worldwide and transferring a large part of international tensions to the Far East. The countries called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are modifying the international status quo and the balance of power in international organizations, with Russia seeking a leading role.

In this unstable geopolitical framework, the European Union, under Germany’s guidance, develops its strategy, which is more and more submitting the achievements of the European peoples to the international competition of capital. Aged Europe, which produces less and less wealth and moves between powers like the USA, Russia, Turkey, China, and Latin American countries, has no prospects unless it reverses its self-destructive neoliberal strategy.

Greece, as a country of the European south, is today at the epicenter of this extreme EU strategy, in similar position to the other southern countries that are now being subjected to the same policy. It is a Balkan country and at the same time is in the hot zone of the Eastern Mediterranean, and therefore is directly affected by the claims and the conflicts of power developing in relation to the economic and geostrategic interests at issue. Greece’s position in the European South determines the community of interests and the need for coordinated struggles and subversion plans with the peoples of these countries, in the context of the social resistance of all European peoples to contemporary neoliberal capitalism. The countries and the peoples of the European South can be inspired by the steps of economic and political cooperation taken by Latin American countries, which are following a difficult and contradictory path of disengagement or relative independence from international organizations of dominance.

Greece’s position in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean necessitates the resolution of all open issues of foreign policy on the basis of law and peace, to the benefit of the common interests of the peoples in the area. Turkey’s foreign policy and aggressive diplomacy – particularly towards our country – tends to multiply claims and demands, maintaining tensions alternated with declarations of friendship. But the peoples of Greece and Turkey have no real differences to set them against each other. Good neighborly relations are consolidated on the basis of peace, cultivation of friendship, mutual respect of sovereign rights, international Law, and UN resolutions.

As regards Cyprus, in particular, whose bonds with Greece are still very strong, our support on all issues concerning today’s threats against it is a given fact. After the Eurogroup’s financial attack, which was a paradigm shift as far as bank deposits and EU banking are concerned, Cyprus is going through serious economic, social, and national hardships.

The Cyprus crisis has proven that today’s neoliberal European Union is in fact denying the idea of European integration. The unprecedented by postwar standards capitalist crisis and the harsh neoliberal policies are already destabilizing and undermining the very core and existence of the European edifice, as the dominant powers cynically and brutally violate even today’s institutional framework of the European Union and the Eurozone. Europe cannot be unified by the forces of big capital that turn popular classes against the EU, but by the forces of labor, left and progressive forces.

Greece’s prospects are interwoven with Europe’s prospects, in the context of wider international developments, of course. The imposition of neoliberal policies has already triggered a European resistance movement, of which the Greek movement is a part. Our Europe is poles apart from today’s; it is the Europe of Enlightenment and of its radical critique, of revolutions, of the welfare state, of democracy, of grassroots movements. SYRIZA’s strategic objective is socialism of the 21st century in Greece and in Europe.


8. The imposition of neoliberalism in Greece dates from Mitsotakis [1990-1993] and Simitis [1996-2004] governments, which were characterized by policies of privatization of “enterprises in difficulty”, controlled rise of unemployment, and flexibilization of labor, and were opposed by the mass movement and the Left. The high rates of class oriented and one-sided growth (until 2008), which was based on the limitless expansion of the financial system, the inflation of the public sector, and especially on private lending and the assistance of the Community Support Frameworks, facilitated the legitimization of the bourgeois power bloc – which had begun as early as the first Changeover years – and the consent of the majority of the middle classes as well as of considerable parts of the wage labor.

The crisis that began in 2008 and the policies followed completely changed the scenery. Not only did it lead the working class and the popular strata to impoverishment but also exacerbated the position of middle strata in towns and the countryside. During the memoranda years, 850,000 jobs were lost, which had taken 17 years to create with a 4% annual GDP increase. Mass unemployment, dumping of wages and incomes, shrinking of insurance rights and looting of social insurance funds, exclusion of 30% of the population from the public health system, financial and institutional blows to public education, constant tax attacks and uncommon confiscation of small property, the destruction of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses to the benefit of the capital concentration: all these have led the followed memoranda policies and the political system to a structural delegitimization, paving the way for new social alliances and new political representations.

9. The proposal for a Government of the Left defines the new dividing social lines in the political field and suggests an alternative road of social salvation, of social, productive, and environmental reconstruction to the benefit of the vast social majority. The forces of wage labor, the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people, the army of highly-qualified young people who cannot find a job, the self-employed, the small and medium-sized farmers, and the small and medium-sized businesses all form a social bloc with fundamentally different interests from the dominant one’s. The dominant bloc’s core is capital; Greek, European, and international: banking, shipping, commercial, and industrial – mainly in the mining industry – capital in the sectors of energy and high technology. The state-supported capital of “major projects” and “exclusive suppliers” controls the largest part of the electronic and printed media. The triangle of the intertwining interests consists of the collapsing political system, the bankrupt banks, and the heavily indebted pro-system media. The political system funds the bankrupt banks for their recapitalization with the taxpayer’s money, and these lend the pro-system media, which on their part prop up the political system.