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Melenchon demands Syriza be kicked out of European Left

A ROW has broken out in the Party of the European Left after Jean-Luc Melenchon’s Left Party in France called for Greece’s Syriza to be booted out of the alliance.

Mr Melenchon said it had become “impossible to rub shoulders” with Syriza and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras given its attacks on working people.

He “deplored” Syriza’s recent attacks on the right to strike which showed the party “answered slavishly to the diktats of the European Commission.”

Syriza legislated for new strike ballot thresholds on January 15, requiring 50 per cent of all union members, rather than participating members, to vote for action before it is legal.

The draconian law was part of a raft of privatisations and benefit cuts forced through parliament, including attacks on child and disability benefit, the sell-off of 14 more public enterprises, measures to speed up repossession and sale of property belonging to families who fall behind with bills and longer working hours for teachers.

The measures prompted mass strike action, with Communist Party of Greece general secretary Dimitris Koutsoumpas telling Syriza MPs: “We will not abandon without a fight the rights won by the working class with their blood. You will constantly find us in front of you, however much mud you throw, however many lackeys you pay.”

European Left president Gregor Gysi rejected Mr Melenchon’s demand, saying the group existed to “promote debates not expulsions.”

Criticism of Syriza was legitimate, he acknowledged, but the “blackmail of the Troika” (the IMF, European Central Bank and the EU) was “largely” responsible for its policies.

French Communist Party European affairs officer Anne Sabourin also attacked Mr Melenchon, saying his request was “ridiculous in form and substance.

“We are faced with European Macronism and the rise of the extreme right.

“We must unite radical leftist forces that are different, have different national policies and different cultures,” she pleaded, saying the Left Party was “looking for a pretext” to cut ties with other left parties.

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