Do not be fooled by the lies of the capitalist news media in the US and around the world… the election of the decrepit, pro-capitalist and reactionary “Socialist” Party of France, and the rise of a so-called “coalition” of “radical left” parties in Greece do not portend an imminent workers revolution in either country. The capitalist class remains firmly in power in both nations – unfortunately.
In France, the return of the Socialist Party to power – a party socialist in name only, which has not been revolutionary since before World War One is nothing for the capitalists of France to worry about. This party has been in and out of power in France and served the French bourgeoisie quite well as a “responsible, trustworthy” steward of the capitalist system. In fact, the last Socialist Party leader was Francois Mitterrand, a staunch anti-communist ally of NATO who led some of the last Cold War attacks against the old Soviet Union before its collapse. The Socialist Party are not, perhaps, the first choice of the French capitalist class when it comes to the party they’d prefer to see running the country, but the capitalists can certainly sleep easily at night knowing that the Socialist Party of France is installed in the Elysee Palace.
In Greece, the Syriza coalition of “left-wing” parties has failed to form a government today, which means that there will probably be new elections in June. Syriza has so far refused to back down on its campaign promise to repudiate the brutal austerity programme being imposed upon Greece by the European Union and international bankers. This grouping of left-wing organizations is basically a popular front – in other words an unprincipled lash-up of ostensibly revolutionary socialist and communist parties along with left reformist groups (environmentalists, “democratic socialists”). It remains to be seen how long they will be able to remain firm in their determination to hold out against the tremendous pressure that is undoubtedly being placed upon them by the capitalist class of Greece and the EU, who are determined to force the Greek working class to pay the bill for the looting of the Greek economy by Greek and international bankers. In spite of the fact that Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Syriza group has been a leading member of the Greek Stalinist Communist Party’s youth group (called the KNE in Greece), and later joined the CP itself, the Communist Party (KKE) refuses to form a coalition with Syriza for some reason.
The deep economic and political crisis in Greece has led to a basic vote of “no confidence” in the two main pro-capitalist political parties and has resulted in a polarization of the vote in which both the “radical left” and the neo-fascist right wing parties have won significant numbers of votes in these recent elections. The PASOK (Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement) saw their vote totals decline by a whopping 30.7 percent; the other main Greek political party, New Democracy, while still coming in first in the election, lost 14.6% of their vote when compared to the last election. Both of these parties were responsible for the collapse of the Greek economy and for the attempted imposition of the draconian austerity plan shackled upon Greece by the international bankers and the EU, led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
While Syriza polled many more votes than the neo-fascist “Golden Dawn” party (1,051,094 to 437,005), the rising threat of this rabid Greek nationalist party means that unless the “radical left” gets its act together and overthrows capitalism in Greece, smashing the Golden Dawn nazis in the egg, there is the very real possibility that inaction of the working class parties could lead to the disillusionment of the workers in the possibility of building an egalitarian socialist Greece, which, as in Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s, could pave the way for the rise of Greek fascism and the destruction of the parties and leaders of the Greek working class. If the working class doesn’t take power, the capitalist class, impatient to restore “stability” in the capitalist system, may either unleash the fascist dogs upon the workers or go back to the brutal rule of the Greek military, as they did from 1967-1974.
It remains to be seen which way Greece will go… either the working-class parties will take power, overthrow capitalism and form a workers government or there will be a period of instability during which the capitalist class, now somewhat battered by the exposure of it’s own corruption, will gradually regain its self-confidence and continue in power – either with the support of the “radical left” or after having smashed the workers movement. Time will tell.