NEW YORK – More than 200 people responded to the invitation of SYRIZA’s chapter in New York and flooded the headquarters of the Cephalos Cephalonian Society. The event was the only election rally held in Tristate area ahead of the Greek elections that were held on January 25.
Attended by many young, female and elderly fans of SYRIZA, and by other leftists, centrists and rightwingers, the gathering had a universal flavor as Greek-Americans anxious to learn as much as possible about the party that is leading all polls braved harsh weather to participate.
The keynote speaker, Professor Michalis Spourdalakis, came all the way from Greece. He and the participants who asked questions focused on major issues and the challenges that will be faced by SYRIZA if it forms a government.
All speakers called upon those who have the financial means and the ability to travel to Greece – even if only on Election Day – to go and vote for the party of their choice and for everyone to call and urge their relatives to participate in the elections.
The event was also attended by representatives of non-Greek organizations like Peace and Democracy and the Podemos movement of Spain.
In his opening speech George Andriotis expressed his satisfaction with the turnout, emphasizing that it is a sign of love for the homeland and their interest in Greece’s progress. He urged people to travel to Greece to vote for SYRIZA, saying that they were all witnesses to an imminent historic change in Greece.
Georgia Lignou, who was in charge of the coordination of the event, spoke about the need to inform Greek Americans about SYRIZA’s program for the governance of the country and its plans to free Greece from the troika memoranda.
The guests were very excited by the greetings via cellphone from Athens by two Greek-Americans and founding members of the local SYRIZA organization, Nikos Alexiou, Sociology Professor at Queens College and Rania Antonopoulos of Bard College, who is an at large candidate, guaranteed a seat in the new parliament
Spourdalakis, who spoke in Greek and English, which was appreciated by many guests, likened the SYRIZA program to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which helped America emerge from the Great Depression.
He said Europe’s response to the crisis has been to make Greece its guinea pig, noting that austerity policies have generated a humanitarian crisis and that the entire EU has done is demonstrate how quickly a country can be destroyed economically, politically and socially.
He also declared that the current coalition government instead of fighting corruption has overthrown the rule of law and has created a police state that restricts citizens’ rights.
Spourdalakis concluded by declaring that SYRIZA’s program is founded on two central concepts: dignity and solidarity.