By Kevin Ovenden
In January 2015, Syriza, the Coalition of the Radical Left, became the largest party in the Hellenic Parliament, winning 149 out of 300 seats and badly defeating the then-ruling conservative New Democracy party. In Syriza, Kevin Ovenden presents an in-depth analysis of the political events leading up to this seemingly sudden reversal of political power in Greece, exploring the origins of the turbulent Greek political climate, from the beginnings of the Communist Party of Greece and the Greek workers’ movement following the First World War, to the brutal civil war that shook the country in the aftermath of the Second World War; the rise and fall of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement and the growth of radical politics in the 1970s; and finally the crushing austerity demands following the debt crisis of the 2010s.
Ovenden also examines the far-right movements in Greece as well, focusing in particular on the negative impact that the xenophobic and nationalistic Golden Dawn party has had and continues to have to this day. Syriza’s victory in Greece is a central event of the twenty-first century, whose ramifications are sure to be felt for decades. Though their victory took place in a time of crisis, for Greece and for Europe, Overden’s analysis is nevertheless full of hope. Syriza, he argues, represents new possibilities for workers across Europe, and perhaps a fascinating rebirth for the political left.