“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.”
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.
1. What would it take for you to consider Syriza a success?
If they will be able to provoke a strong international left movement in Europe, joining all the left forces, it would be a true success. But in any case it should not be the movement of ‘the South’ against ‘the West’. This rhetoric is quite popular, but hopefully will vanish away.
2. And what would make you consider it a failure?
Turning to the right, becoming protectionist. And I do not mean that tomorrow SYRIZA members might adopt a right-wing rhetoric and fight migration, but there is a probability that the new Greek government will follow the Scandinavian way of development – become socio-democratic in domestic politics and protectionist in international relations. Of course, by doing this they could get strong electoral support, but it will not help the international left movement.
3. What do you think will actually happen?
Maybe because I am from Ukraine, and I saw how the political situation changed in one year in my country I feel it is better not to make any prognosis, because things will go in a different way 100%. Apart from positive and negative scenarios I have drawn previously, there are thousands more, which are equally possible. And unfortunately where the story goes depends not on the Syriza only, rather less on Syriza than on a big number of other factors and actors. Having a pure faith in Syriza, its leaders, social movements all over the Europe and world, I am still quite pessimistic, because they are not the only players in the game. Sometimes over a beer I discuss with comrades the Allende story in relation to Greece, it is quite a sad one, but it just shows how strong the capitalist class is.
4. What does the victory of Syriza mean for Ukraine and for the Left there?
For Ukraine – nowadays not a lot, almost nothing. In Ukranian mainstream opinion, represented in media, for example, Syriza is a pro-Russian party, because they did not support the sanctions against Russia. 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.
5. How do you imagine your organization cooperating with Syriza?
The political group I am close to is part of Podemos, so as I see after the victory of Podemos in Spain or at least in one of the regions, Podemos has to have a united strategy with SYRIZA one program, especially economical, because these regions can help each other to organise some kind of an alternative economy. Though the collaboration is quite strong now, I do not think it is enough, and I think it has to do a lot with Podemos. SYRIZA and Podemos are quite different organizations. I see Podemos as more vertical, lots of Spanish people see it as a movement of Pablo Iglesias. But as the process of development of a strong left movement in Spain is happening now, so to say the cattle is boiling, lots of other groups and activists have a chance to influence it as well.