OP/ED – Left: The Curse of divisions

OP/ED – Left: The Curse of divisions

Athens, August 22, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

A brief reflection on the labour movement, the Left in Greece, reveals a mosaic of ideas and conflicts, fragmentation and divisions, which often come from the past. The processes inside never stopped. This process is depicted in the last split of SYRIZA and the subsequent formation of the “Popular Unity” by Panagiotis Lafazanis.

IBNA presents significant splits in the Left that marked the course of the Greek political scene of the two majority parties of the Greek Left, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and SYRIZA.


February 1968: The split of KKE. In essence, the issue raised at the 12th Broad Plenary of the Central Committee of KKE was whether there will be a KKE with the characteristics of a Marxist-Leninist party or whether KKE would transform into a “Eurocommunist” party. This confrontation in the Political Secretariat and CC, involved among other things, issues of democratic centralism and proletarian internationalism. The split led to the creation of the Renewing Left (EAP) and the establishment of KKE Interior.

1989: The KKE, with Secretary General of the CC, Charilaos Florakis, and the EAP led by Leonidas Kyrkos, in February-March 89, form a political alliance under the title Coalition of the Left and Progress. The formation of the Tzannetakis coalition government with ND – Radical Left Coalition, and the ecumenical Zolotas government, involving ND-PASOK-Left Radical Coalition, leads to the withdrawal from KKE of executives and members of KNE (Greek Communist Party Youth), who later form NAP.

1991: Split of the Communist Party under the weight of the developments in the former socialist countries and the restoration of capitalism in them. In 1991 the 13th Congress was the Congress of the great conflict. There were members of the CC  who were in favour of maintaining the communist character of KKE and its autonomy, while Charilaos Florakis tables the surprise proposal to elect Aleka Papariga as Secretary General. After this development, he changes the policy of alliances and leaves the Coalition. In July of 91′, forty-five members of KKE leave the CC of the party, including former Secretary of the CC Grigoris Farakos. Some of the members who left the KKE, along with the EAP, established the single party of the “Coalition of the Left and Progress” (SYN).


The labyrinth of trends

From the members who left the Communist Party in 1991, the EAR and members from the KKE Interior, was formed the  Renewing Left (SYN) as a party. Its first president was Maria Damanaki (1991-1993) – she left SYN in 2003 – and subsequent presidents were Nikos Konstantopoulos (1993-2004), Alekos Alavanos (2004-2008) and Alexis Tsipras, who heads until today.

SYN is the largest component of SYRIZA today, and ideologically it professes “socialism with democracy and freedom” through the “democratic road to socialism”. The phenomenon of individual tendencies can be seen since the first founding congress of SYN as a single party in 1992. In 2010, the Left ‘Current’, which was created after Maastricht, splits, while the Renewal Wing headed by Fotis Kouvelis, withdraws from the 6th congress of SYN (He called for the disengagement of SYN from SYRIZA) and created a new political entity, the “Democratic Left”.

In May 2012, SYRIZA submitted to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court a founding statement as a single party and as such participated in the elections of June 2012. In 2013 it took a more substantial step towards its unification, with the 1st Conference on July 10-14.

In the elections of January 2015 it was elected first party with a percentage of 36.34%, elected 149 MPs and formed a government in cooperation with the Independent Greeks and Alexis Tsipras as prime minister.

On August 21, 2015, a group of the party’s MPs, under Panagiotis Lafazanis, depart and form a new party called “Popular Unity”.

Curse or prayer, the split. It sure divests from the Left the right to take the power and rule. The September elections will show on the most part, if the Left, will remain an exponent of an activist practice or of an effective political intervention in the political life of Greece.