“We Need a Convincing Alternative Plan”

Intervention of the “Initiative of SYRIZA members coming from the ex tendency of 53+” at the nationwide meeting of Syriza on 29/30 August in Athens.

"The elections of September 20 are a landmark for the country and the Left, SYRIZA. It is a key event for the European left as well, which, despite the embarrassment caused by the swift developments after the referendum, continues to monitor the Left in Greece and its attempts to re-assume the responsibility of government power. However, these elections will be a landmark with a different content and with different things at stake compared with the elections of January 25. The time is minimal and the obstacles are big, but we are all obliged to organize the struggle for a winning result; for a self-sufficient majority government of SYRIZA, the formation of which will not depend on the mood and the policies of parties whose program is incompatible with the program of SYRIZA.
At the same time, we need to formulate a convincing alternative plan – which we did not have – with the contribution and participation of society, and with a meaningful relationship with the European left, leading us out of the memoranda and the neoliberal paths. We need to trust the people and the radical social movements, even if they contradict aspects of our policy. This race must be given with the values ​​and the ideas of the Left as an arsenal, with perseverance, but also with a self-critical spirit vis-á-vis the mistakes that brought defeat and led several individuals to demobilisation. Our daily action needs to be permeated by the steady objective of the transformation of the society and the economy of the country, as perceived by the movement-oriented and radical Left in our era.
The signal sent to the ordinary member or friend of the party was, unfortunately, – in particular during the period of the seven months of SYRIZA governance – that the only duty he/ she had was to monitor government decisions and support them in society. The party member or friend understood this as the culmination of a pre-existing choice to bypass and cancel the party from 2012 onwards. He/ she linked that with views claiming the need for an unmediated relationship of the leader with the people, as well as the supposed fact that party forces act as a burden and prevent the development of the influence of the government. However, the parties of the Left are not made by leaders, but by principles, ideas, programs and the struggles of its people.
Even starting this weekend, we can send out the signal that we will follow an action that will seek the liberation of the Greek society and economy from the trap of the Memorandum and sweltering austerity, will mitigate or offset the recessionary impact of the agreement, will support the groups that are most at risk, will offer space for rights, for autonomous movements and initiatives (antiracist, feminist, ecological, anti-war, anti-prohibition, anti-authoritarian, initiatives for the rights of LGBT, prisoners, the homeless, etc.).
Today, more than ever, we need a party that will be a protagonist in shaping the basic directions rather than a party that is decommissioned; a party with substantial collective proceedings, which is democratic in its operation, radical, with social action, producing concrete policy.
The leadership must turn self-critically to the party, to this body today, to the people. It should deny what they attribute to it, i.e. the thoughts and plans to diversify and shift the party’s support base, an intention that is completely different from the legitimate attempt to extend that base.
We who sign this text come from the movement of 53+, a grouping that operated within SYRIZA and worked for its unity, its collective democratic function, and its left-wing, radical and movement-oriented direction. We accept the part of the responsibility that falls in our part, even for the things that we did not prevent or did not attempt to prevent through our intervention.
This two-day event is crucial. We are convinced that the collective answers that will be given here will largely shape the course of the project and the stance of thousands of fighters inside and outside SYRIZA.
Will we succeed with our intervention? It is more difficult but also more necessary than ever. It will depend, however, on the effort of all of us."
For the full text please refer to the pdf on the right.