The U.S. Left and the Audacity of SYRIZA: an Online Roundtable

by The North Star on June 13, 2012

Greece’s May 6 election rattled international investors and European governments alike after the country’s voters abandoned the two parties of austerity PASOK (social democrats) and New Democracy (Greece’s GOP) and voted in droves for a radical left coalition called SYRIZA, which seems determined to halt the austerity measures if they can win enough votes and/or make parliamentary alliances to form a government in the June 17 elections.

The prospect of defeating the austerity drive in Greece is real and has generated excitement on the left internationally.

The North Star’s roundtable on SYRIZA aims to explore some of the following issues and questions:

-Is winning elections in a capitalist “democracy” a more effective means of resisting austerity than general strikes, creating prefigurative/direct democratic institutions, and massive street battles and direct actions, all of which have been done in Greece for the past three years?

-Is a repeat of Spain 1936 on the cards, when a fascist military coup was launched in response to the election of the leftist Popular Front, inaugurating a bloody civil war and anarchism’s high point in the 20th century?

-Does SYRIZA represent the “Second Coming” of social democracy?

-What implications do the Greek elections have on the issue of direct versus representative democracy?

-Most importantly, what lessons can be taken from the SYRIZA experience and applied here, if any? What would an American equivalent of SYRIZA look like and would Occupy be friendly, hostile, or indifferent to it?

Of course no one can answer all of the questions. The point is to not to come up with “correct” answers but generate some thoughtful dialogue and comradely debate among anti-capitalists and explore our common ground in a coherent, organized way. Hopefully this will provide the basis for future collaboration.

Participants include socialists Louis Proyect (Unrepentant Marxist, Marxmail founder), Chris Maisano (Democratic Socialists of America, Jacobin editorial board), anti-authoritarian Richard Estes (American Leftist), and Doug Enaa Greene (Boston Occupier newspaper). [List still in formation. Email [email protected] if you are interested in participating in video or text format.]

1. “Party-Building in the 21st Century” by Louis Proyect

2. “Another Occupy Is Possible – and Necessary” by Chris Maisano

3. “What Can American Leftists Learn from the Success of SYRIZA?” by Richard Estes

4. “Lessons for Socialists, From Occupy Boston to Greece” by Doug Enaa Greene

5. “A New Socialist Left Emerged” by Billy Wharton

6. “SYRIZA: Lessons for the Grassroots” by Bob Morris

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Schulman June 15, 2012 at 9:34 am

When and where is this event taking place?


Jason Schulman June 17, 2012 at 1:03 am

My bad. I didn’t realize it was an ONLINE roundtable — I thought it was a public event.


admin June 19, 2012 at 10:02 am

The word “online” was added after you posted. Thanks for the correction!


Leave a Comment

{ 7 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: