SYRIZA has won a great victory in the Greek general election. We celebrate their victory and applaud the leadership that has brought the party to power.
For the European left and the wider anti-austerity movement it is necessary firstly and loudly to state that ‘this changes everything’: it is a time of the greatest significance and opportunity.
It became clear in the final days of the campaign that SYRIZA was headed for such a momentous victory. Their rallies across Greece – in town squares, factories and universities – were thoughtful and inspirational. The working class was making its mind up about SYRIZA. Now it has decided and the results are clear – this is nothing short of an overwhelming expression of the people’s will for change, by and for the people.
And that popular will extends far beyond Greece, across Europe and beyond, embracing millions looking to this victory for hope, signified by the hundreds of international supporters in Greece for the election. One of that number, Paul Mackney from the Greece Solidarity Campaign in Britain, reported thus on SYRIZA’s final rally:
“The atmosphere in Athens is electric. There is a rumbling in the air. It’s the winds of change bringing in a European spring. The forces of austerity are cowed by the mass support for SYRIZA as displayed at their final rally on Thursday night. Enthusiastic supporters listened and cheered in turns to an upbeat speech from Alexis Tsipras at the end of which he introduced Pablo Iglesias of the new Spanish Party Podemos to the crowd. Iglesias repeated the Leonard Cohen lyrics from the loudspeakers which said ‘First we take Manhattan and then we take Berlin’.”
The European left is reborn in Greece – and it’s clear why and how: SYRIZA stands with and for the resistance of the people of Greece to austerity. Its rise mirrors that struggle. It has won the confidence of the people through its principles and its practice. That is the lesson for the left.