The newspaper clam that Syriza is a "far left" party and that it wants to renegotiate the greek government's debt.

I don't understand how that makes them far left by any extension of mind. Actually considering what happened to Greece their claims aren't any surprise. Normally far left parties have a much wider political program such as :

  • Reinvent a new economical system
  • Supports negative groth
  • Forbid the usage of GDP as an indicator of a country's productiveness
  • Ban speculation
  • Try to ciminalize bosses of large companies
  • etc...

It really suprises me that Syriza is called "far left" at all. Also I don't see how they could be considered extremists or dangerous to any extent.

I know that the notion of "left" and "right" are obsolete (despite political parties continuing to self-labelling them with one of the two), but I don't see how Syriza has a revolutionary political program.

  • "Nogocy" isn't a word. Did you mean "renegotiate", or "cancel", etc? Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 11:14
  • Thanks, I meant renegociate. (I speek french, this explains that)
    – Bregalad
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 11:16
  • 2
    One factor is probably that they describe themselves as "radical left," with statements like "it has attempted to evolve from an alliance into a single party of the modern radical 21st-century Left" in the English-language section of their site.
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 22:48
  • What is "negative groth"?
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 19:12
  • @Anixx The opposite of positive growth
    – Bregalad
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


I don't read Greek and don't know all the details of Syriza's platform but from what transpired in the press, they do have a few other key promises, including fighting corruption and tax evasion and providing some relief for the poor in Greece. Initially, they also promised they would immediately stop all privatizations but reneged on that to reach a last-minute agreement with the Eurogroup.

Importantly, none of this is particularly ‘extreme’. It has been hailed as completely reasonable by prominent economists and (to the extent allowed by diplomacy) the US president and is more-or-less in line with the IMF recent views on the Eurozone crisis.

There are however still two reasons to call Syriza ‘far left’, a plausible one and a questionable one. The plausible reason is the history of the party. No matter the party's current platform or actual policies, some of its components were explicitly far left groups and parties. And Syriza does still retain some of the rhetoric and ‘style’ of these groups. For example, you can easily see how people like Varoufakis or Tsipras himself are highly atypical for European cabinet ministers, from their background all the way to their clothing choices.

The bad (or at least disingenuous) reason to call it far left is that it provides political cover not to consider the actual substance of their demands. If you can't or won't give up austerity because you know it won't play well with voters in Germany, Finland or the Netherlands or because you're afraid of setting a precedent in the Eurozone, it's useful to stick to the narrative that the adult thing to do is to stay the course and that the only problem is that Greece hasn't gone far enough.

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