Who excluded NEDA (New Internationalist Left) from Drasy-Eylem?

Οn Tuesday 24th of June a “general assembly” of 11 people in total (to which the three former candidates Marina Payiatsou, Alev Tugberk and Deniz Birinci were invited, together with a translator) took place. This “general assembly” decided it was the voice of the “Bicommunal Radical Left Coalition”, Drasy- Εylem, and that members of New Internationalist Left (NEDA) were excluded from its ranks.

To this meeting, which took place behind the closed doors of a private house and not in a public place, members of NEDA were excluded, with the exception of Marina Payiatsou, cadre of NEDA, who was a candidate with Drasy– Eylem.

The attendees, and especially the other three Greek Cypriot former candidates (Stavros Tompazos, Kostis Achniotis and Dinos Ayiomammitis) “explained” to Marina Payiatsou that she, as an individual, could be a member of Δρασυ- Eylem, but no other member of NEDA would be allowed to join Drasy-Eylem.

This proposal on their behalf came as an unpleasant surprise! No decent  member of a political organisation would turn their back to their organisation for the sake of a “chair” or the “privilege” that another organisation thought they were offering! The proposal was offensive and lacked dignity, and most importantly lacked any political seriousness! Marina Payiatsou expressed her  clear refusal of all these proposals and procedures and left the meeting in protest!

The people who presented themselves as Drasy-Eylem and who put these proposals forward claimed that Drasy- Eylem existed already as a political organisation, before running for the Euroelections… And that, for that reason, any people who wanted to join Drasy-Eylem ought to have their approval; otherwise they could not join Drasy-Eylem.

This kind of  argumentation is offensive to common intelligence!

Firstly, because whether Drasy – Eylem (even though it might have existed in the minds of some people beforehand)  only came together, literally, at the last minute, as a bicommunal list for the Euroelections.

Secondly, because Drasy – Eylem was never announced as an existing political formation. As proof of this, the programme of Drasy- Eylem, paragraph 1 states: Drasy– Εylem is an electoral coalition of people coming from various political backgrounds, connected with a common political proposal”. Also, in an article of his, dated 7th of May, Dinos Ayiomammitis refers to a Left that exists on both sides of Cyprus and is expressed by ERAS and other organisations/ groups/ trade unions etc that needs to cooperate in order to form a Bicommunal Left Coalition with its own list for the Euroelections. Finally, in all the meetings before the elections when participants asked whether Drasy- Εylem was an organisation, the coordinated response was that it isn’t, and that it will come together as an organisation after the elections, depending on the electoral result.

Thirdly, because none of the three female candidates (Greek Cypriot Marina and the Turkish Cypriots Denis and Alev) were ever informed that they were running on the list of “another political organisation”.

Fourthly, because the title of the list contains the word “coalition” (Bicommunal Radical Left Coalition). “Coalition” doesn’t imply a political party or a political organisation. It means that different groups (political or other) and individuals, collaborate and work together, with the aim of achieving some common goals.

These 11 people had no authority or right to call for such a behind closed doors, controlled procedure, calling it the “1st post- electoral assembly meeting”, in a private house (and not a public place) at which they presented themselves as the self- appointed leadership and as such to exclude members of any other political organisation from joining the bicommunal left coalition. 

Members of NEDA were not the only ones excluded from this meeting. Also excluded were a big number of people who participated in the meetings that Drasy- Eylem called for before the elections.

If this so called leadership was really interested in promoting the ideas of the Left and building a new and different kind of a Left Party, to the ones we have been used to for decades now,  particularly if this new Left is to be bicommunal, they ought to take the following steps:

  1. Call for open, public meetings in each town, inviting anyone interested in Δράσυ- Εylem.
  2.  Open the doors of Drasy– Eylem to all who were encouraged by the result and call organisations (political, social, trade unions etc) and individuals to join freely.
  3. Discuss the electoral results, estimate the perspectives for the coming period and elect temporary (provisional) coordinating committees.
  4. These “provisional committees” should take upon their shoulders the preparation of a Congress which will clarify the character, both politically and organisationally of Δρασυ- Eylem in the coming months.
  5. The organisational structures should be democratic and flexible, as is the case with all the new formations of the Left that have appeared in Europe and internationally during the previous decades, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This is the only way to build broad movements and mass organisations – they  cannot be built in secret, or behind doors or starting off with exclusions.

This small group of bureaucrats denied entry to NEDA, arguing that it is a separate organisation. However the members of this “leadership” themselves belong to organisations or groups with international connections.

They banned NEDA and its members using the argument that its programme is “too much on the left” and too “revolutionary” and therefore “causing damage” and that votes were lost because of NEDA’s socialist ideas. That our political positions were confusing people because they were different from the programme of Drasy– Εylem.

However a “coalition” cannot demand a full agreement on everything – then it is no longer a “coalition” as the initials of Drasy- Eylem clearly state. It’s natural to have different opinions within a coalition and necessary to express them. From there on, the rank and file and the people who follow us, are to judge, receiving the different opinions and deciding upon them.

NEDA does indeed support that this profound crisis of capitalism that has led the Cypriot economy to  catastrophe, does put the need forward, in Cyprus and internationally, for the Left to adopt a socialist programme, and to struggle for a socialist society. The members of the small group that hijacked the name of Drasy– Eylem disagree. Which is fine. But what should have been done, since there is a difference of opinion, is to allow for an open, free, public dialogue, that would allow the people of Drasy– Eylem to then make the decisions. Instead of that, they cancelled any democratic procedure and are thus, unfortunately, drowning and destroying Drasy- Eylem and the dynamic it gained, something to which NEDA contributed to and fought for with all its forces

This however does mean that the fight for a democratic, bicommunal Left on an equal basis has finished. Precisely the opposite. 

NEDA will continue to express its opinion on the kind of Left that is needed in the present circumstances. A Left that’s democratic in its structures, equal in the relations between g/c and t/c that are organised in its ranks and with a clearly socialist orientation. A Left that’s internationalist, seeking links with the rest of the Left and the working class movement and struggles across Europe and the world. We will fight to have the necessary conclusions from the negative experience of Drasy- Εylem drawn, so that in the future, the right steps are taken, in the right direction.

 

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