Eco-Greens and Demokratikoi Parties

Tassos Krommydas and Giannis Sakiotis, 12 OCT, 2009


The difficulty of minority parties and factions keeping their message before the public, without benefit of a seat in the parliament is something to address. The problem is not unlike that of the US Greens and the progressive wing of the US Democratic Party, although the latter has the benefit of being part of the larger, and currently majority, party.

To discuss the platforms, experiences and prospects of the Eco-Greens and Demokratikoi parties, two representatives of these smaller parties were welcomed to the October HELADA meeting.

Tassos Krommydas of the Oikologoi Prassinoi noted that Greek Greens are part of the larger pan-European Green Party movement. Their platform derives frm the larger body and includes both environmental and social justice planks. 

Tassos Krommydas and Giannis Sakiotis 

The party managed to garner enough votes in the last Greek elections for Euro-Parliament to send one representative. In the Oct 4 Greek parliamentary election, they fell just short of the required 3% overall vote to seat one member. However, their total vote was an improvement on the last Greek elections.  

How Can Small Parties Have a Voice

Whether Greek law can be changed to remove the overall % requirement for a seat remains to be seen, though it's not impossible. Such a change would mean that an MP could be seated, based on votes garnered in his or her district, regardless of the party's total vote in the election. This is an open question at present.

Whether US law can be altered to remove the impact of corporate lobbyists/contributors and enhance the voice of citizens is also an open question.

This leads to the use of 'virtual organizing' that Giannis Sakiotis touched on. Sakiotis described the venture of the new party in whose founding he had an active role. The Demokratikoi took the rise of netroots and social networking to see if it could build into a movement. It did, though it garnered only some 7,000 votes nationwide. Nonetheless, they see a role for continued organizing, and for promoting the concept of the 'active citizen.'

The questions raised by both speakers are pertinent to HELADA discussion. To what extent can it supplement dissemination of information when the press and parliamentary venues are under-utilized? To what extent does the discussion of and organizing for alternative channels distract from the core message and action we seek to promote through those channels?

And finally, can we address the issues of government inaction, bad judgment and/or corruption through encouragement of 'the active citizen'? If so, how do we do that most effectively?

Both speakers felt is was bit early to determine whether to react to or support PASOK programs, particularly in the area of 'green economy' and social justice issues, policy for which had not yet been proposed in detail. Once the ruling party has settled into offices, HELADA hopes to also be able to hear from them.

In the meantime, HELADA will stay in touch with these two smaller parties, whose platforms resonate with many of our issues. - KL

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