Synaspismos


Synaspismos

Infobox Greek Political Party
party_name = Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς των Κινημάτων και της Οικολογίας
"Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías"
Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology
party_articletitle = Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology
party_
leader = Alexis Tsipras
foundation = 1991
ideology = Democratic socialism, Green/Red-Green, Social progressivism , Alter-globalization
international = None
position = Left-wing
european = Party of the European Left; observer at the European Anticapitalist Left
europarl = GUE/NGL
colours = Yellow, red, blue
headquarters = 1 Eleftherias Square,
105 53 Athens
website = [http://www.syn.gr/en/index.htm www.syn.gr/en/index.htm]
The Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology ( _el. Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς των Κινημάτων και της Οικολογίας, "Synaspismós tīs Aristerás tōn Kinīmátōn kai tīs Oikologías") is a Greek political party of the radical new left. It is commonly known simply as Synaspismos ( _el. Συνασπισμός, "Synaspismós", "Coalition") and abbreviated to ΣΥΝ (SYN). Until 2003, it was called the Coalition of the Left and Progress ( _el. Συνασπισμός της Αριστεράς και της Προόδου, "Synaspismós tīs Aristerás kai tīs Proódou").

On 10 February 2008 engineer Alexis Tsipras was elected party president, replacing Alekos Alavanos, who stepped down citing health problems.

History

Coalition, late 1980s–1991

Synaspismos emerged initially as an electoral coalition at the late 1980s, with the two Greek Communist Parties (the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Greek Left, the successor to the eurocommunist Communist Party of Greece (Interior) as its largest constituents. The disintegration of 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 Gregory Farakos, and majorities in many Local Committees (named by the KKE majority as "revisionists" and by the press as the "renewers"), and also split from the coalition.

Coalition's electoral results

Party, 1991–present

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 (for 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 elections for the European Parliament. Two years later, with 5,12%, got its highest score in 1996 elections for the Greek Parliament.

In the legislative elections of 2000, SYN was supported by the small party AKOA and a small group of ecologists. After the elections a few members of the National Committee, who were asking for approximation with the socialdemocrats, 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 socialist administration of Kostas Simitis.

In the legislative elections of 2004, Synaspismos, together with several smaller parties (AKOA, KEDA, DEA, Active Citizens), formed an alliance called SY.RI.ZA, 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 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 [http://www.syn.gr/cv/tsipras.htm Tsipras] candidacy was received well, especially so by younger voters, and formed the party's springboard for its good 2007 parliamentary elections showing.

Party's electoral results

Ideological identity

SYN describes 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".

The ideology of SYN is influenced by Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Nicos Poulantzas et al.

Synaspismos aspires to be an "canopy party"; where, under the party flag, one can find people of varying ideological and theoretical backgrounds. Therefore, SYN members are encouraged to form, or participate in, intra-party platforms on the basis of kinship in ideology. Platforms mount open discussions and publish magazines, but may not work against party consensus decisions.

The role of the platforms is vital especially in congresses, because each of them proposes a thesis on party strategy and presents its own ballot of candidates for the National Committee. In the National Committee elected by the last Congress (5th - Feb 2008), the rank (in terms of representation) is the following: "Left Stream" (mainstream western marxism, party center-left), "Renewing Wing" (radical socialdemocracy, party right), the "Red-green Net" (eco-marxism, party left) and the "Initiative" (eurosceptic marxism, party extreme left). Since 2004 the Left Stream, the Red-greens and the Initiative form the so-called "Left Majority", which is responsible for moving the party to most radical leftist positions.

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

Representation & international alliances

The party has members in the National and European Parliament. After having survived the crisis of not achieving parliamentary representation in 1993, Synaspismos has, 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 is 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 are: Alekos Alavanos, Fotis Kouvelis, Michael Papagiannakis, Giannis Dragasakis, Alexis Tsipras, Nikos Konstantopoulos, Panagiotis Lafazanis et al.

Synaspismos is 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 (ΑΣKI)

tructure

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 (or CPC: Central Political Committee) is elected by the Party Congress, held every 3 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 is a primus inter pares member of both the CPC and the Secretariat.

YN youth

SYN's youth organisation is Neolaia SYN (Νεολαία ΣΥΝ, "SYN Youth"), which is autonomous from the party structure. Until the late 1990s they were called "Left Youth League" (Ένωση Aριστερών Νέων). N-SYN have their own membership and executive bodies, but in general their decisions and activity are similar to the ones of the party. Their power is noteworthy in most Student Councils all around Greece, through the DIKTYO (Δίκτυο, "Network"). N-SYN also participates in the European Network of Democratic Young Left (ENDYL).

List of SYN leadership

* SYN as electoral coalition
** 1989-1991: chairman Charilaos Florakis, secretary Leonidas Kyrkos
** 1991: chairwoman Maria Damanaki, secretary Fotis Kouvelis

* SYN as party
** 1991-1993: chairwoman Maria Damanaki, no secretary
** 1993-2004: chairman Nikos Konstantopoulos, no secretary
** 2004-2008: chairman Alekos Alavanos, secretary Nikos Hountis
** 2008-present: Alexis Tsipras, secretary Nikos Hountis

External links

* [http://www.syn.gr/index/en/enmainframe.htm Synaspismos' web site in English]
* [http://www.neolaiasyn.gr The Youth of Synaspismos]
* [http://www.left.gr/radio.php Radio Station "In Red" live]
* [http://www.eppnp.gr/index_en.php?gl=en Institute Nikos Poulantzas]
* [http://askiweb.eu/ ASKI archives] , currently only in Greek
* [http://ekloges.ypes.gr/ Greek election results] , via the Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs


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