The Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology[3][7] (Greek: Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς των Κινημάτων και της Οικολογίας, Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías), commonly known as Synaspismos (Greek: Συνασπισμός, Synaspismós, "Coalition") and abbreviated to SYN (ΣΥΝ), was a Greek political party of the radical New Left. It was founded in 1991 and was known as the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Greek: Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς και της Προόδου, Synaspismós tīs Aristerás kai tīs Proódou) until 2003. In 2004 SYN was a founding member of the Party of the European Left.[8]

Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology
Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς των Κινημάτων και της Οικολογίας
Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías
LeaderAlexis Tsipras
  • 1989 (as an electoral coalition)
  • 1991 (as a political party)
Dissolved10 July 2013 (2013-07-10)
Split fromCommunist Party of Greece
Merged intoCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA)
Headquarters1 Eleftherias Square,
105 53 Athens
Youth wingSYN Youth
IdeologyDemocratic socialism[1][2]
Political positionLeft-wing[3][6]
National affiliationCoalition of the Radical Left
European affiliationParty of the European Left, European Anticapitalist Left (observer)
European Parliament groupEuropean United Left–Nordic Green Left

SYN was the largest party of the left-wing coalition formed in 2004 called Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). SYN was dissolved in 2013.

History edit

Coalition, late 1980s–1991 edit

Logo of the Coalition of the Left and Progress

Synaspismos emerged initially as an electoral coalition at the late 1980s, with the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Greek Left, one of the successors of the eurocommunist KKE 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 member party.

The disintegration of the 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). At this time KKE also left the coalition.

Party, 1991–2013 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 by 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.

The 6th Congress of Synaspismos took place in June 2010.[9] The "renewing wing" led by Fotis Kouvelis, in disagreement with the party's participation in SYRIZA, left the party and founding Democratic Left.[10][11] Fotis Kouvelis was followed by three more MPs, that left the party caucus.[12]

Both in the May 2012 Greek Legislative election and in the June 2012 Greek Legislative election, SYRIZA came second, electing 52 and 71 MPs, accordingly, of which 45 and 55 were part of Synaspismos.

In July 2013, right before the first Congress of SYRIZA, the final congress of Synaspismos took place, that overwhelmingly voted to disestablish Synaspismos and to merge with SYRIZA.[13][14][15]

Election results edit

Hellenic Parliament edit

Election Hellenic Parliament Rank Government Leader
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/−
As an electoral coalition
1989 I 855,944 13.13% New
28 / 300
New 3rd Coalition cabinet of Tzannis Tzannetakis Charilaos Florakis
1989 II 734,552 10.97%   2.16
21 / 300
  7 Zolotas Ecumenical Government
1990 677,059 10.28%   0.69
19 / 300
  2 Opposition
As a party
1993 202,887 2.9% New
0 / 300
±0 No. 5 No seats Maria Damanaki
1996 347,236 5.1%  2.2
10 / 300
 10 No. 4 Opposition Nikos Konstantopoulos
2000 219,880 3.2%  1.9
6 / 300
 4 No. 4

European Parliament edit

European Parliament
Election Votes % ±pp Seats won +/− Rank Leader
1994 408,072 6.2% New
2 / 25
 2 No. 5 Nikos Konstantopoulos
1999 331,928 5.2%  1.0
2 / 25
±0 No. 5
2004 254,447 4.2%  1.0
1 / 24
 1 No. 4

Ideological identity edit

SYN described 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 aspired to be a "canopy party"; where, under the party flag, one could find people of varying ideological and theoretical backgrounds. Therefore, SYN members were encouraged to form, or participate in, intra-party platforms on the basis of kinship in ideology. Platforms mounted open discussions and published magazines, but might not work against party consensus decisions.

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

Tendencies edit

The role of the platforms was vital especially in congresses, because each of them proposed a thesis on party strategy and presented 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) was 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 formed the so-called Left Majority, which was responsible for moving the party to more radical leftist positions.

Representation and international alliances edit

Last chairman Alexis Tsipras

The party had members in the National and European Parliament. After having survived the crisis of not achieving parliamentary representation in 1993, Synaspismos had, 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 was 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 were: Alexis Tsipras, Alekos Alavanos, Giannis Dragasakis, Nikos Konstantopoulos, Panagiotis Lafazanis et al.

Synaspismos was 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 (ΑΣΚΙ)

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

Leaders edit

No. Leader Portrait Term of office
1 Charilaos Florakis   8 April 1989 18 March 1991
2 Maria Damanaki   18 March 1991 19 December 1993
3 Nikos Konstantopoulos   19 December 1993 12 December 2004
4 Alekos Alavanos   12 December 2004 11 February 2008
5 Alexis Tsipras   11 February 2008 10 July 2013

References edit

  1. ^ Luke March (12 March 2012). Radical Left Parties in Europe. Routledge. p. 1782. ISBN 978-1-136-57897-7.
  2. ^ a b c d Magone, José M. (2003), The Politics of Southern Europe: Integration into the European Union, Praeger Publishers, p. 152, ISBN 9780275977870
  3. ^ a b c Backes, Uwe; Moreau, Patrick (2008), Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 571–575, ISBN 9783525369128
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Magone, José M. (2003), The Politics of Southern Europe: Integration into the European Union, Praeger Publishers, p. 151, ISBN 9780275977870
  6. ^ Synaspismos was described as left-wing several times:
  7. ^ Gemenis, Kostas (2013). Election Report—Winning Votes and Weathering Storms: The 2009 European and Parliamentary Elections in Greece. Routledge. p. 99. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
    Hatziprokopiou, Panos Arion (2006). Globalisation, Migration and Socio-economic Change in Contemporary Greece. Amsterdam University Press. p. 124.
    Mavrogordatos, George Th. (2005). "Greece". European Journal of Political Research. 44 (7/8): 1027. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6765.2005.00265.x.
    Pappas, Takis S. (2014). Populism and Crisis Politics in Greece. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 106.
  8. ^ Susannah Verney; Sofia Michalaki (2013). "Greece". In Nicolò Conti (ed.). Party Attitudes Towards the EU in the Member States: Parties for Europe, Parties Against Europe. Routledge. pp. 137–138. ISBN 978-1-317-93656-5.
  9. ^ The 6th Synaspismos Congress is taking place between the 3rd and 6th of June
  10. ^ Divorce within Synaspismos
  11. ^ Democratic Left's founding declaration[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ The "4" of the "renewing wing" have gone Independent.
  13. ^ "We're turning the page" said A. Tsipras in the SYN Congress
  14. ^ SYN's autodisestablishment has been approved
  15. ^ Synaspismos' disestablishment has been decided

External links edit