Start – Socialist Internationalist Organisation

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Start - Socialist Internationalist Organisation
Ξεκίνημα - Σοσιαλιστική Διεθνιστική Οργάνωση
Founded 1974
Newspaper Xekinima
Ideology Trotskyism
International affiliation Committee for a Workers' International
Website
http://www.xekinima.org/
Politics of Greece
Political parties
Elections

Xekinima (the word means start in English) is the Committee for a Workers' International’s Greek section.

Foundation[edit]

Xekininma's roots can be traced to the mid-1970s when Greek society was going through major upheavals, and was seen by many as moving to left-radical policies as a result of the collapse of the military dictatorship and the international situation.

The initial layer of members came from within the mass workers’ parties of that period, that is, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and Communist Party of Greece (KKE). It was made up of young activists who thought that the policies of these parties were leading the masses to defeat, and who, in their search for answers, came to the ideas of Leon Trotsky.

In the second part of the 1970s and the 1980s those organised in Xekinima were able to lead important struggles (both inside the mass parties and outside), of the working class movement. Especially inside PASOK, they were the main constituent of a strong left current opposed to the policies of the leadership. This opposition and the support their ideas gained amongst the ordinary members of PASOK led to Xekinima’s expulsion from the party by its leadership. In the working class struggles Xekinima played a key role in the latter part of the 1980s in the development of some of the most important industrial battles but also in university and technical student struggles.

1990s onwards[edit]

The 1990s required a complete re-orientation in the work of the Greek section of the CWI. After a series of serious defeats of the left at the beginning of the 1990s and a turn to the right by the leadership of the Trade Unions, a turn to a new generation of young people was required as older layers of activists were being driven into demoralisation and apathy.

This task was gradually achieved, by the end of the 1990s. The organisation now undertakes successful campaigning work amongst young people in the schools and universities. Two special journals are being produced on a regular basis, apart from the organisation’s monthly paper, called School Student Xekinima (to deal with the issues affecting school students), and Machete (circulated among the University and technical college students). Xekinima played an important role in the development of a huge wave of school occupations that covered the country from one end to the other, in 1998. Young members of the Greek section were in the leadership of this struggle in a number of areas.

Very important work is also being done among political asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in general. Xekinima fought over the past years for the release from prison of refugees who were kept in Greek jails. It brought to the surface information about what was going on inside the migrant cells, and for the first time society learned about hunger strikes and other struggles that were taking place against the alleged racism of Greek police and the state. Xekinima’s campaigns forced the police to open the jails to MPs and journalists to see what was actually happening. Tens of migrant prisoners were released as a result of these campaigns and many were granted their rights.

Xekinima is also involved in a number of local community campaigns, filling the vacuum left by the leadership of the workers’ movement. In the most recent example, in the area of Kaisariani (Athens), Xekinima, took the initiative to fight against the attempt of the council to “modernise” the area by demolishing the houses of 4,000 families in order to build trade centres and huge blocks of flats. The mayor of Kaisariani is a Coalition of Radical Left member and his plans have the unanimous support in the council. This sets Xekinima as the only political opposition in the area. The campaign has, up to now, had a fantastic reception by the local population. The possibility of forcing the council to abandon its plans is open.

Winning the working class to revolutionary ideas is of course the strategic aim of Xekinima’s work. The period of the last years is one of relative decline in struggles and trade union activity. 1999 was the year with the lowest number of strikes since the collapse of the military dictatorship in 1974. The end of the year 2000 however, saw the first signs of a new, possible, revival. A number of strikes, including two general strikes took place. Xekinima intervened heavily in these strikes. The main target that Xekinima sets in relation to trade union work, apart from building its own forces, is to bring together class fighters of different political orientations with a view to the creation of opposition groupings and blocks outside the control of the traditional parties.

University occupations[edit]

In 2006/07 Xekinima was heavily involved in the movement of university students occupying Greek universities against privatisation and other cuts, where they argued that the movement should link up with other social movements and the Greek working class.[1][2]

Joining and leaving Syriza[edit]

After working closely with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) over a period of time and calling for a vote for SYRIZA in the 2007 elections, a special national congress of Xekinima on June 7–8, 2008 voted to join SYRIZA.[3] On 15/04/2011 it left SYRIZA, however Xekinima is still supporting the coalition.[4] Xekinima called for vote to the Communist Party of Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left or the Anticapitalist Left Cooperation for the Overthrow for the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]