Syriza’s victory stirs the Left’s political imagination across Central, Eastern and South East Europe

Franz Masereel,  "the rooster" 1952 Franz Masereel, "the rooster" 1952
Cl. Ciobanu (Romania/Poland), A. Liasheva (Ukraine), B. Rossa (Bulgaria), M.  Medenica (Serbia), I. Budraitskis (Russia), J. Majicek (Czech Republic) A. Vangeli (Macedonia), M. Milosevic (Croatia), A. Cistelecan (Romania) interviewed by Adela Gjorgjioska 
From Left East, 16.2.2015

Three weeks ago the Left celebrated Syriza’s victory. The plot has thickened since, and it will surely intensify further by the 28th of February when the EU-IMF bailout is due to expire. As the Greek drama unravels, it is those who are most supportive of Syriza that will judge it most critically. Asked by LeftEast’s Adela Gjorgjoska, nine left-wing activists from Central, Eastern and South East Europe evaluate its prospects, and how these might echo beyond political imagination into national and international action.
LEFTEAST
 

 
Claudia Ciobanu (Romania/Poland)
Like in most of Central and Eastern Europe, Polish left wing activism is quite marginal, though it’s been steadily growing. Over the last years, not in the least because of the influence of global movements like Occupy and Indignados, Polish activists have been thinking about a model of social change that would involve building a broader social movement that stands for participative democracy and social justice, and then creating a political party that would give electoral expression to such a movement. More... 

Claudia Ciobanu is a Romanian freelance journalist based in Poland. She also works with the environmental NGO Bankwatch. 

Alona Liasheva (Ukraine)
The average Ukranian either does not know about Syriza, because all his or her attention is on the war; or hates it, because it is somehow connected to Russia and because it is connected to communism. More...

Alona Liasheva is an Urban Studies Master student focusing on migration and spatial segregation. She is a co-editor of Commons: Journal for Social Criticism. 

Boryana Rossa, Bulgaria
If Syriza succeeds with its program, at least to some extent, there will be a new living leftist model that can be used to oppose this weird association of Russia with “the left” or “communism” by default. This is really important not only for Bulgaria – which has usually been torn in two (between EU and Russia) but for the international perception of the left as well. More...

Boryana Rossa, PhD, is an interdisciplinary artist and a curator. She is a member of New Left Perspectives and Haspel collectives Bulgaria. 
 
Matija Medenica (Serbia)
Even the Prime Minister Vučić admitted that Tsipras is more popular in Serbia than him. The political climate is changing rapidly. This is a chance that we are not planning to waste. Μore...
Matija Medenica is a sociologist from Belgrade and member of Marks21 and the Left Summit of Serbia.

 
Ilya Budraitskis (Russia)
It’s important to stress that Kremlin welcomed Syriza’s victory exactly in the moment when inside Russia it provides its own version of “austerity politics” in conditions of a deepening economic catastrophe. We in the left are trying to present support to Syriza as an impressive example of popular mobilisation against anti-social logic of elites, which for the moment Russia and EU have in common, despite geopolitical conflict. Μore... 

Ilya Budraitskis is a Moscow-based historian and political writer. He is currently a member of the editorial board of Openleft.ru and Moscow Art Magazine. 
 
Jan Majicek (Czech Republic)
It is very hard for many people to imagine a left alternative to social democracy. As one friend told me recently: maybe it is time to found “Our Syriza”. It was a joke but it reflects the impact on the political imagination of many activists. More...

Jan Májíček is a member of Socilistická Solidarita in the Czech Republic. He is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science, Charles University in Prague. He is an activist and a journalist. 
 
Anastas Vangeli (Republic of Macedonia)
We can learn a lot from Syriza, work together with them and the other movements on the ground on issues such as social justice, solidarity and civic mobilization in border regions; developing cross-national strategies for inclusive economic development; as well as standing together for the rights of the growing number of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants that cross and are abused at the Greco-Macedonian border. Μore...


Anastas Vangeli is a doctoral researcher at the Graduate School for Social Research at the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw 
 
Marko Milosevic (Croatia)
The Workers’ Front is the only party that challenges the capitalist system in Croatia, and our exposure to the wider public has risen since the elections in Greece. That gave us an opportunity to present our position to many people, and now it’s up to us to translate this publicity into a concrete and strong movement that can effectively challenge the status quo. We have a lot of work to do! Μore...
 

Marko Milošević is a political activist from Zagreb and a founding member of the Workers’ Front. 
 
Alex Cistelecan (Romania)
Syriza’s victory can mean a lot of things in Romania: from the modest gain which could consist in shifting the local public discourse even slightly to the left, to the more material gain, in which the local left (so far comprising only a small avant-garde of intellectuals and activists) could, by means of imitation and contagion, finally build around itself its necessary social and institutional basis. Μore...

Alex Cistelecan is editor for CriticAtac.ro and lecturer at the ‘Petru Maior’ University, Tg. Mures.


Cl. Ciobanu (Romania/Poland), A. Liasheva (Ukraine), B. Rossa (Bulgaria), M.  Medenica (Serbia), I. Budraitskis (Russia), J. Majicek (Czech Republic) A. Vangeli (Macedonia), M. Milosevic (Croatia), A. Cistelecan (Romania) were interviewed by Adela Gjorgjioska. Adela Gjorgjioska is a Marie Curie Doctoral Student researching social representations and communications, with a focus on socio-dynamics and social change. She is based in Rome.
  • Translated by: N/A
  • The original text was first published on: Written for AnalyzeGreece!