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The Syriza Wave bookcover with demonstrators

April 6, 2017

May 25-June 4, 2017

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Join us to talk with Irish author Helena Sheehan about her new book The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left.

Thursday, May 25, 6:30PM, New York City, New York University, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at NYU, 53 Washington Square South, Manhattan. Sheehan will be joined by Nantina Vgontzas, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, NYU; Member, GSOC-UAW 2110 and AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement. The event is sponsored by the NYU Department of History and co-sponsored by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement, Monthly Review Press, and The Marxist Education Project. Facebook event page

Tuesday, May 30, Philadelphia-Details coming soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 31, , 6:30 PM - 8 PM, Washington, DC - Busboys & Poets, 2021 14th St NW. Introduction by Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CODEPINK and author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. The evening is cosponsored by Busboys and Poets, CODEPINK, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Jacobin and Metro DC DSA. Facebook event page

Weekend of June 2-4, Left Forum, NYC ­Sheehan will be speaking on two panels. Times to be announced when the Left Forum schedule is set. 

Left Forum Panel #1- The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left, with author Helena Sheehan, plus Despina Lalaki and Aaron Amaral

Left Forum Panel #2- What Next for the European Left: Confronting the Challenge of Right Wing "Populism"with Helena Sheehan, plus Kevin Anderson, and a third speaker to be announced.

(NOTE: the previously-scheduled May 24 Brooklyn Commons meeting has been moved to May 25 at NYU)

The Syriza Wave is available from the publisher, Monthly Review Press

Utterly corrupt corporate and government elites bankrupted Greece twice over. First, by profligate deficit spending benefitting only themselves; second, by agreeing to an IMF “bailout” of the Greek economy, devastating ordinary Greek citizens who were already enduring government-induced poverty, unemployment, and hunger. Finally, in response to dire “austerity” measures, the people of Greece stood up, electing, from their own historic roots of resistance, Syriza—the Coalition of the Radical Left. For those who caught the Syriza wave, there was, writes Helena Sheehan, a minute of “precarious hope.”

A seasoned activist and participant-observer, Helena Sheehan adroitly places us at the center of the whirlwind beginnings of Syriza, its jubilant victory at the polls, and finally at Syriza’s surrender to the very austerity measures it once vowed to annihilate. Along the way, she takes time to meet many Greeks in tavernas, on the street, and in government offices, engage in debates, and compare Greece to her own economically blighted country, Ireland.

Beginning as a strong Syriza supporter, Sheehan sees Syriza transformed from a horizon of hope to a vortex of despair. But out of the dust of defeat, she draws questions radiating optimism. Just how did what was possibly the most intelligent, effective instrument of the Greek left self-destruct? And what are the consequences for the Greek people, for the international left, for all of us driven to work for a better world? The Syriza Wave is a page-turning blend of political reportage, personal reflection, and astute analysis.

Helena Sheehan is Professor Emerita at Dublin City University, where she taught history of ideas and media studies. She is also the author of several books, including Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History and Irish Television Drama: A Society and Its Stories. Over the years, she became increasingly committed to a form of writing that is both experiential and intellectual. Her latest book The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left combines elements of theory and travelogue.

A philosopher, historian and political activist, Helena Sheehan grew up in cold war America and the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church. She became a nun after graduating from high school. Sheehan increasingly questioned everything she had been taught. She left the convent and the church and became active in the US New Left in the 1960s, both on campuses and on the streets. Sheehan moved to Europe in 1972.

Although based in Ireland, Sheehan moved around Europe, east and west, and was active at various times in social democratic and communist parties and many broad social movements. She earned her living doing different jobs, but primarily as an academic, eventually as a university professor. She has published in the areas of history of ideas, science studies, media studies and politics.


Paul Murphy, member of the Irish parliament: “Helena Sheehan brings the dramatic rollercoaster of Syriza’s growth, election and capitulation to vivid life.”

Kate Hudson, author and activist: “Such is Sheehan’s narrative skill - coupled with her direct participation in so many of the key moments that you feel you are actually there, in the square, the conference hall, the occupation....Crucially, Sheehan frames the questions to challenge the movement in going forward: how to advance the left within an ever more powerful global capitalism. This is essential reading and highly recommended."