Stathis Kouvelakis: Syriza’s Rise and Fall. New Left Review 97, January-February 2016.
Could you explain in more detail the stages of
Syriza’s evolution after the June 2012 elections, when it emerged as the
national opposition with 27 per cent of the vote?
the 2012 elections there was a general perception that it was just a
matter of time before Syriza took office, one way or another. The
Tsipras leadership made very clear and, in a sense, very tough decisions
in that summer of 2012, about the party’s line and about the type of
party they wanted. First, they needed to turn a coalition of disparate
organizations into a unified party; this was quite widely recognized,
and there was no real disagreement about it. They also wanted to use the
unification process to transform the culture of the party and its
organizational structure at a very deep level. Instead of a push to
recruit people who’d been active in the social mobilizations of the
period, the aim was to open the gates to the sort of people who want to
join a party when they think it has a serious chance of accessing
power—clientelist mentalities and habits are very deeply rooted in Greek
society, including in the popular classes; there’s a type of
micromanagement of social relations.