In the corridors of power: Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras In the corridors of power: Syriza leader Alex Tsipras

Syriza should internationalise its struggle to deprive the European elite the power to manoeuvre. John Rees on a stunning victory

Syriza’s victory is brilliant. It is the first full frontal ‘No’ that the austerity mongers have heard since the crisis broke in 2008. It is already resonating the length and breadth of Europe.

But it is only a beginning because in every political struggle both sides manoeuvre. And the Euro elite were already manoeuvring to offset a Syriza victory from the start of the election campaign. This is both a tribute to the threat that Syriza is seen to be, and a recognition by the elite that the flat-lining European economy proved even more eloquently than Tsipras that austerity isn’t working.

What is the elites’ manoeuvre? A bumper bankers’ Keynesian injection of cash into the economy. That’s what the ECB announced last week. That’s the carrot. No doubt there will also be stick.

Syriza should react by demanding more, not settling for less. It should move left, not right – today’s deal with the small right wing party the Independent Greeks shows that the pressure to compromise will be enormous. It should appeal to action from the masses, not wait in the corridors of power. It should internationalise its struggle to deprive the European governments of the power to manoeuvre at home.

Will it? Not if its recently vocal moderate wing get their way. This is where a strong and independent revolutionary left is indispensable. It will be the core of making this argument.

The Marxists who will have the best chance of making this argument with greatest authority will be those who backed Syriza, rather than those in the KKE and sections of the international left who did not.

But even those that made the ridiculously sectarian error of not backing Syriza are not wholly wrong in warning of the dangers which will now arise.

Those who want this victory to open a new period of working class advance now need to ensure that this bridgehead is secured, not surrendered.

Emotional Bella Ciao at Syriza Celebration – video by Clare Solomon

John Rees

John Rees is a writer, broadcaster and activist, and is one of the organisers of the People’s Assembly. His books include ‘The Algebra of Revolution’, ‘Imperialism and Resistance’, ‘Timelines, A Political History of the Modern World’, ‘The People Demand, A Short History of the Arab Revolutions’ (with Joseph Daher), ‘A People’s History of London’ (with Lindsey German) and The Leveller Revolution. He is co-founder of the Stop the War Coalition.

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