Coalition of Left, of Movements and Ecology

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Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς των Κινημάτων και της Οικολογίας
Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías
Coalition of Left, of Movements and Ecology
Leader Alexis Tsipras
Founded 1991
Dissolved July 10, 2013 (2013-07-10)
Merged into Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA)
Headquarters 1 Eleftherias Square,
105 53 Athens
Ideology Democratic socialism[1]
Eco-socialism[2]
Eurocommunism[3][4]
Environmentalism[1]
Feminism[1]
Pacifism[1]
Political position Left-wing[2]
National affiliation Coalition of the Radical Left
International affiliation None
European affiliation Party of the European Left, European Anticapitalist Left (observer)
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Yellow
Website
www.syn.gr/en/index.htm
Politics of Greece
Political parties
Elections

The Coalition of Left, of Movements and Ecology (Greek: Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς των Κινημάτων και της Οικολογίας, Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías) is a Greek political party of the radical new left. It is commonly known simply as Synaspismos (Greek: Συνασπισμός, Synaspismós, "Coalition") and abbreviated to SYN (ΣΥΝ). Until 2003, it was called the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Greek: Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς και της Προόδου, Synaspismós tīs Aristerás kai tīs Proódou).

SYN was the largest party of the left-wing coalition formed in 2004 called Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).

History[edit]

Coalition, late 1980s–1991[edit]

Synaspismos emerged initially as an electoral coalition at the late 1980s, with the two Greek Communist Parties (the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Greek Left, the successor to the eurocommunist Communist Party of Greece (Interior)) as its largest constituents. The Party of Democratic Socialism a splinter from the Union of the Democratic Centre which occupied a similar position to PASOK, was the largest non Communist party in Synaspismos. The disintegration of USSR brought the Left into disunion, and the traditional majority within KKE purged all non-hardliners from the party - almost 45% of the Central Committee members, including ex-general secretary Grigoris Farakos, and majorities in many Local Committees (named by the KKE majority as revisionists and by the press as the renewers), and also split from the coalition.

Party, 1991–present[edit]

After that, the other parties of the coalition and the renewing part of KKE decided to convert the alliance into a political party (1991).

Although the 'experiment' seemed to have great potential, serious ideological conflicts were afflicting the new party. At the legislative elections of 1993, SYN failed (for 2,000 votes) to pass the limit of 3% and enter the National Parliament. But next year, Synaspismos got its highest national 'score' ever (6,26%) in the 1994 European Parliament elections. Two years later, with 5,12%, got its highest score in 1996 legislative elections.

Former Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos giving a speech at a SYRIZA rally in Athens

In the legislative elections of 2000, SYN was supported by the small Renewing Communist Ecological Left (AKOA) party and a small group of ecologists. After the elections a few members of the National Committee, who were asking for approximation with the social democrats, left the party accusing the majority of neo-communist turn and created the short-lived party AEKA. AEKA was first split and little later disbanded in some months, when the head of the party became an Undersecretary in the socialdemocratic administration of Kostas Simitis.

In the legislative elections of 2004, Synaspismos, together with several smaller parties (AKOA, Movement for the United in Action Left (KEDA), Internationalist Workers Left (DEA, Active Citizens)), formed an alliance called Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), but contested the Euro-elections of the same year on its own, because of ideological disagreements within the party. The alliance with the smaller parties was formed again at the end of 2005, when chairman Alekos Alavanos proposed the 30-year-old Alexis Tsipras as candidate mayor of Athens for the Municipal Election of 2006, proclaiming the party's "overture to a younger generation". The Tsipras candidacy was received well, especially so by younger voters, and formed the party's springboard for its good 2007 parliamentary elections showing.

On 10 February 2008 Alexis Tsipras was elected party president, replacing Alavanos, who stepped down citing private reasons. At that time Tsipras did not hold a parliamentary seat, so Alavanos remained leader of the parliamentary group. After the legislative elections in 2009, Tsipras entered Parliament and became leader of the SYRIZA parliamentary group.

Electoral results[edit]

Parliament (Βουλή των Ελλήνων)[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of overall
seats won
+/–
1989
(Jun)
855,944 13.1
28 / 300
1989
(Nov)
734,611 11.0
21 / 300
Decrease 7
1990 677,059 10.3
19 / 300
Decrease 2
1993 202,887 2.9
0 / 300
Decrease 19
1996 347,051 5.1
10 / 300
Increase 10
2000 219,880 3.2
6 / 300
Decrease 4
2004 241,539 3.3
6 / 300
Steady 0
Part of "Coalition of the Radical Left".
2007 361,059 5.0
14 / 300
Increase 8
Part of "Coalition of the Radical Left".
2009 315,627 4.6
13 / 300
Decrease 1
Part of "Coalition of the Radical Left".
2012
(May)
1,061,265 16.8
52 / 300
Increase 39
Part of "Coalition of the Radical Left".
2012
(Jun)
1,655,258 26.9 (#2)
71 / 300
Increase 19
Main party of "Coalition of the Radical Left", led by Tsipras.

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1989 936,175 14.3
4 / 24
1994 408,066 6.3
2 / 25
Decrease 2
1999 331,928 5.2
2 / 25
Steady 0
2004 254,447 4.2
1 / 24
Decrease 1
2009 240,930 4.7
1 / 22
Steady 0
As part of the Coalition of the Radical Left.

Ideological identity[edit]

SYN describes itself as a radical left party, inspired by the ideas of the renewal of the communist and broader left movement in Greece and in Europe. It also fights for the merging of the ecological movement along with the left, to form a strategic alliance. The party's culture has been enriched by its active participation in the movement against the Neoliberal Capitalist Globalization.

Synaspismos aspires to be an "canopy party"; where, under the party flag, one can find people of varying ideological and theoretical backgrounds. Therefore, SYN members are encouraged to form, or participate in, intra-party platforms on the basis of kinship in ideology. Platforms mount open discussions and publish magazines, but may not work against party consensus decisions.

Note: the exact word used is "τάσεις" ("tendencies"), but the term platform is more accurate in English.

Tendencies[edit]

The role of the platforms is vital especially in congresses, because each of them proposes a thesis on party strategy and presents its own ballot of candidates for the National Committee. In the National Committee elected by the last Congress (5 February 2008), the rank (in terms of representation) is the following: "Left Current" (mainstream western Marxism, party center-left), "Renewing Wing" (radical social democracy, party right), the "Red-green Network" (eco-Marxism, party left) and the "Initiative" (eurosceptic Marxism, party extreme left). Since 2004 the Left Stream, the Red-greens and the Initiative form the so-called Left Majority, which is responsible for moving the party to most radical leftist positions.

Representation & international alliances[edit]

Current chairman Alexis Tsipras

The party has members in the National and European Parliament. After having survived the crisis of not achieving parliamentary representation in 1993, Synaspismos has, since 1996, been the fourth party in the Greek Parliament, and the third party (in terms of representation) in local government. In the European Parliament SYN is a member of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left group, and also a member of the European Social Forum. Moreover, SYN hosted the 1st Congress of European Left (29–30 October 2005), which formulated the Athens Declaration of the European Left as the manifesto of the European Left party.

Well-known executive members of Synaspismos are: Alexis Tsipras, Alekos Alavanos, Giannis Dragasakis, Nikos Konstantopoulos, Panagiotis Lafazanis et al.

Synaspismos is closely connected with the following:

  • The Athens daily newspaper ΑΥΓΗ (Dawn)
  • The Athens radio station "105.5 FM - Στο Κóκκινο" (In Red).
  • The "Nicos Poulantzas" Institute for Political Research
  • The Archive of Modern Social History (ΑΣKI)

Structure[edit]

The structure of SYN consists of three levels:

  • Local: City, village or trade union committees, responsible for everyday matters at the workplace and neighborhood level, and deciding on issues of local interest.
  • Prefectural: The Prefectural Administration is elected by the members of the local committees and co-ordinates local committee work.
  • Nationwide: The National Committee (Central Political Committee (CPC)) is elected by the Party Congress, held every three years. It exercises the central administration of the party and convenes almost every month. Major decisions are usually taken at this level.
    • The Secretariat is elected by the CPC among its members, and oversees three duties: to represent the party in media outlets and in negotiations with other parties; to prepare CPC sessions; and to co-ordinate party work at the nationwide level. Though somewhat similar to the Politbüro of old-style communist parties, its role is not nearly as dominant. Usually the members of the Secretariat are working full-time for the party.
      • The Chairperson of SYN is elected by the Congress and is a primus inter pares member of both the CPC and the Secretariat.

SYN youth[edit]

SYN Youth Logo
SYN Youth members in a 2007 Coalition of the Radical Left rally

SYN's youth organisation is SYN Youth (Νεολαία ΣΥΝ, SYN Youth), which is autonomous from the party structure. Until the late 1990s they were called "Left Youth League" (Ένωση Aριστερών Νέων). N-SYN have their own membership and executive bodies, but in general their decisions and activity are similar to the ones of the party. Their power is noteworthy in most Student Councils all around Greece, through the AR.EN.(Αριστερή Ενότητα, "Left Unity"). N-SYN also participates in the European Network of Democratic Young Left (ENDYL).

List of SYN leadership[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Magone, José M. (2003), The Politics of Southern Europe: Integration into the European Union, Praeger Publishers, p. 152 
  2. ^ a b Backes, Uwe; Moreau, Patrick (2008), Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 571–575 
  3. ^ Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 398–. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Magone, José M. (2003), The Politics of Southern Europe: Integration into the European Union, Praeger Publishers, p. 151 

External links[edit]