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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les faux amis de Syriza

by Gérald Rossi

Syriza’s False Friends

Translated Friday 30 January 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

French Socialist Party Trying to Appropriate Alexis Tsipras’ Program, the Better to Bolster François Hollande.

Since Jan. 25, there has been massive side-switching, especially in the French Socialist Party. They have hastily patched together a song-and-dance so that Bruno Le Roux, the leader of the Socialists in the National Assembly, could state on Jan. 26 that they have “many things in common.” Le Roux even went so far as to add that “Mr. Tsipras’ proposals have long since been realized by the left.”

You’re left asking yourself why, with such communion in thinking, when this same Tsipras came to France in May 2012, the French Socialists refused to receive him. Similarly, once he had been elected president of France, François Hollande never answered the letter that Tsipras – now the new Greek prime minister – sent him. Just a few weeks before the elections in Greece, Socialist Pierre Moscovici, the present European commissioner for foreign affairs, clearly backed the outgoing team led by Conservative Antonis Samara when he hailed the “work done by the Greek authorities, so many efforts made, so many things accomplished, that it would be a pity not to continue.”

Bending reality

Confronted with Syriza’s victory, the French Socialist Party has not shrunk from bending reality. “Ideologically, Syriza is closer to François Hollande than to Jean-Luc Mélenchon,” junior minister Jean-Marie Le Guen, who is close to prime minister Manuel Valls, has been incessantly hammering. This again is being a bit over-hasty, when you know that this same Alexis Tsipras was the president of Synapismos, Syriza’s political ancestor, which, as French Communist leader Pierre Laurent emphasized in an interview with the weekly Marianne, “stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Die Linke in Germany, with Izquierda Unida in Spain, and with the French Communist Party” to form the Party of the European Left (EL) in 2004. Presided over by Pierre Laurent, EL put forward Alexis Tsipras to preside over the European Commission, while the French Socialist Party was backing German Social-Democrat Martin Schulz.

As for Syriza’s ad hoc alliance with the Independent Greeks (a party favoring sovereignty), it does not mask the real differences of opinion but does confirm a shared rejection of austerity. We’re a long way from the days when the now-defeated Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) had no qualms about governing together with members of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), a party whose affinities lie with the French National Front. So much so that, when Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, the first secretary of the French Socialist Party, today states that “Syriza’s program is closer to PASOK’s than to the [French] Left Front’s,” he’s the only one who believes it…

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