How Syriza rose to power in Greece

Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza. Credit:

Radical left Greek party Syriza didn’t win the election yesterday but did come in second with a highly respectable 26%. They did this by grassroots organizing over several years. (The center-right New Democracy Party won with 30%.) But Syriza, which was scarcely more than a blip a few years ago, is now assured of being a political force in Greece (and the Eurozone, assuming Greece stays in it) for the foreseeable future. The New Democracy Party may be ruling Greece, but the strong showing by Syriza will be a persistent thorn in the side for the neo-liberal agenda of austerity in the Eurozone. Even New Democracy says terms of Greek bailout will need to be renegotiated. This is almost certainly due in large part to Syriza and their opposition to neo-liberalism.

How Syriza rose to power is an instructive tale for organizers regardless of their politics. After all, more than a few organizers on the US right have read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and applied them in their organizing. His rules aren’t left-wing at all. Instead they are about how to build community power into political power, because politics at core is about getting power then using it.

Syriza began in 2004 as a coalition of thirteen left-wing radical groups.

Read more about Syriza and their rise to power.