A New Left Project Against the Bailout in Greece: If Not Now, When?

A recent piece by Stathis Kouvelakis, one of the most vocal Syriza’s dissenters and a leading figure of Left Platform, spurs some reflections in the aftermath of Syriza’s central committee meeting last week which saw Tsipras emerge victorious — at least for now. It should be noted that the article is based on a speech that was given a few days before the central committee meeting.

Kouvelakis clearly articulates the failures of Syriza’s ‘majority’ line, highlighting the main factors that led to the capitulation — among them, a rather distressing accommodation of established Greek media and banking powers by Syriza-Anel government, which casts further doubt on Tsipras’ ability of turning this debacle into anything useful for Greeks in the following months.

The final part of the piece focuses on what’s next, with Kouvelakis’ call for a new political movement building on the Oxi mobilisation. This would be a progressive alternative and a pan-European alliance that moves beyond the eurozone and ‘left-Europeanism’ as he calls it. The movement would work from its very inception against the bailout and against the continuation of troika’s rule.

Now, Kouvelakis develops some pretty good points here showing a complexity of reasoning and arguments that is welcome and useful. But we still need to know in practice how we make sense of last week’s Left Platform stance in the central committee. Why was Tsipras’ call for a party conference after the bailout talks accepted? Where was the internal majority often invoked by Left Platform ready to question the bailout from this very moment? Is Left Platform serious about overturning this bailout or will it all just end up in another collective internal reflection without any practical action to resist the new agreement?

If Syriza dissenters don’t come up with a practical plan in the short-term to show that they are serious about this alternative agenda, the new project Kouvelakis advocates will rapidly collapse — for the very reasons Kouvelakis clearly points out when analysing the failure of Tsipras’ line. Credibility is a major issue here. If Left Platform does not move beyond statements and announcements and towards tangible action, the left alternative to Tsipras will dissolve just as quickly. Certainly, waiting for the bailout talks to be over to discuss what’s gone wrong within Syriza is not a credible answer, as members of Left Platform have already highlighted.