Continuation of Syriza, Podemos, Nouvelle Donne. The alternative to the Europe of Draghi-Macron

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Vangelis Goulas, a member of Syriza, explained to us that his party is the product of the anti-globalization struggles and was not born yesterday. It first took part in parliamentary elections in 2004, the result of an electoral alliance of several parties of the left, which was already initiated for the local elections in 2002. In 2006, nothing significant came out of municipal elections and its position was unclear. Syriza, allied to the communist movement KOE in 2007, exceeded 5% in the parliamentary elections and received 14 seats, mainly in large cities. The involvement of youth increased after 2008 when Syriza supported the protests following the death of a 15 year old boy killed by a policeman.

That brings us to 2010, the year of the so-called ‘”support” of Europe to Greece. “In exchange for great sacrifices,” as headlined La Tribune of May 3, 2010. A memorandum was signed between the Troika and Greece. “I signed it without reading it,” confessed the Greek Development Minister Michalis Chrisochoïdis, the Greek equivalent of our Michel Sapin.

Then the situation accelerates while it degrades.
Syriza becomes in 2012 the first force on the left in anticipation of the elections. It’s a force both contentious and constructive, offering alternative solutions. But the right wing makes an alliance with PASOK and Democratic Left to continue to please the program of the Troika.

Comes the parliamentary elections of 2015. Syriza, after good work of political education, won with an anti-austerity program. Alexis Tsipras was appointed Prime Minister.

Next questions:
What is Syriza today?
A country like Greece can it be sovereign?

With regard to the sovereignty of Greece, as in any other country in Europe today, we must recognize that the European policy of austerity has more weight than any national forces. Albeit in different terms, the Institutions (the new name of the Troika) weigh equally on Tsipras in Greece and Valls in France.

This allows us to read in La Tribune of March 24: “What is important for Berlin as in Brussels, it is primarily to hide this strategy of the “noose” which lets the Greek patient suffocate more and more until he is ready to do whatever is asked of him.”

And read in La Croix January 26: “It is clear that France must redouble its efforts, whether at the level of budgetary reforms or structural reforms,” ​​according to the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the euro, Valdis Dombrovskis”.

Except that the Greeks have chosen, says Vangelis Goulas, to decide their future and speak louder. And to maintain an anti-austerity and humanitarian policy.

There is a risk, for sure. The European oligarchy, represented by Mario Draghi, former European President for Goldman Sachs and President of the ECB, has as its main objective, not to save Greece but to preserve the interests of the banks. This was done once already when part of the Greek debt was passed off to the State banks.

Mario Draghi also does not hesitate to ask the Greek banks to stop buying Greek treasury bonds, to force the hand of Athens which might otherwise be a bad example of democracy in Europe. This shows the inhuman side of those who serve finance first. They don’t care about the consequences of their decisions on the Greek people.

Vangelis Goulas tells us that as a result of the disturbed international situation in the East and the Middle East, Greece finds himself having to manage an important flow of clandestine migration, as must also Italy. This is a question that Europe, which is always giving lessons to the countries of the South, refuses to put on its agenda.

Podemos. Ganemos. Indignados movement.
Spain. “This is not a crisis, it’s a scam.”

In Spain, the economic situation is not exactly the same as in Greece, but it has the same dramatic consequences for the population.

The country was given as an example just before the 2008 crisis, which did not prevent the housing bubble, actively supported by the banks to collapse. Large construction projects, always linked to a major corruption of elected officials, were stopped just like that. So the banks had to be saved. In this case, as always, “it was necessary to save the system.” And the only ones who benefited, here as elsewhere, were the financial and political oligarchy.

Next the public deficit explodes. An austerity plan is put in place by the leftwing government. Evictions increase. Unemployment rises to 25%. Unemployment for those under 25 explodes to 50%. In 2011 the rightwing won the elections.

The Spanish have calculated that 168 billion euros have been stolen from them by successive governments in tax fraud (80 billion), money given to banks (36 billion), to the church (10 billion), in the interests of the debt (39 billion), etc. Compare the sums given to the health budget which in 2013 was $ 3.8 billion, education which was 1.9 billion, and employment 26 billion.

Last part of article:

It is on this ground that the great movement of the Spanish indignados developed, (Los Indignados, emulating Stephane Hessel), also known as M15, which occupied for several weeks the Puerta Sol in Madrid in 2011. An assemblyiste movement non-violent, multiplied to many regions.

Ruben Borlado, member of the M15 and Ganemos a movement of social transformation, traced its history for us. It’s a history that was never able, and never wanted to establish a political party. Instead, it has kept going strong, but in different ways. As Ruben emphasized, they preferred to speak in their own voices as social activists, rather than allow others to speak for them.

Thus a multitude of local movements have developed, involving, under various names and networks, the defense of people who have been expelled, by organizing marches and participating in municipal elections.

As was done by Ganemos in Zaragoza and some other cities. And as was done by Podemos side, which does not always present itself under its own flag but under those of associated movements.


It was in January 2014 that Podemos was created to give a political arm for the M15 movement of Puerta Del sol. Its initiators were Spanish intellectuals fringe, partly coming from the university, some professors of economics and political science.

First attempt, it met success in the European elections. Podemos exceeded 10% of the vote in some parts of Spain, and obtained a national average of 8% with 5 elected to Parliament in Strasbourg. It was like a cannon shot across the bow of Spanish politics and other European countries.

Marco Albert of Podemos, explained to us that because of its heterogeneous start with the Indignados of 15 May, there were no simple answers to the situation and therefore it was difficult to manage,. Therefore, besides the above ingredients released by Eric Alt of Nouvelle Donne, it should be understood that the success of Podemos was due to a subtle blend of tactics, not agreed upon by everyone, such as participatory financing and organizational practices deemed essential to fight on the electoral front.

There was a struggle between the “movement trend” and the “organizational trend”, the latter being led by the young and already famous Pablo Iglesias, and it was he who won. He insists that social transformation requires changing the State. This requires both a struggle against corruption involving both the rightwing and the leftwing (1700 cases are under investigation), and a cultural struggle, agreeing in all respects with our friend, the Sicilian judge Scarpinato.

Networks, communication, intellectual mobility.

Among other factors contributing to the success of Podemos we should mention:

First of its position above the left-right divide, replacing it with the division between the “people above” and the 
”people below”.

And then, the battle of communication led by Pablo Iglesias, in his own talk show on a local university Madrid channel ”The Tuerka”, which is then picked up and distributed by other channels.

And it is certainly its networking with hundreds of local clubs, associations, participatory movements, large movements of “social Tides” held on the topics of health, of education, of the deportees, the insecurity of retirees, defense of water as a public resource, which ensures a permanent link that moves at level of the citizens.

Finally, we must recognize the communication ability of Pablo Iglesias which enables him to appropriate sensitive news topics, to the point of being considered by some as a populist.

This is not an insult when it comes from those whose policy is to maintain people in a state of conditioned fear: fear of job loss, fear of losing their housing, fear of insecurity, fear of standing out, fear of the other, neighbor or immigrants. Reflexes created by what Naomi Klein calls “The Shock Strategy”.

Additional information.

Eric Alt gave the floor at the end of meeting to Sophie Wahnich, who came to present the French association “Interdemos: From people to people”, an initiative to raise funds to demonstrate the solidarity of the French and European peoples with Greece in the critical moment experienced by the country.

Circle Podemos Paris.

Syriza in Paris

Nouvelle Donne