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May 2, 2017

The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left
UPDATED Book Tour Schedule

Syriza Wave book cover over demonstrators

We now have an updated schedule for the book tour by Helena Sheehan, author of the important new book The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left. We hope you can join us for one or more of these events for a discussion of the implications of the Syriza experience for the left in Europe, the United States, and beyond.


  • Thursday, May 25, 6:30pm, New York City, New York University, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at NYU, 53 Washington Square South, Room 701, Manhattan. Sheehan will be joined by Nantina Vgontzas, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, NYU; Member, GSOC-UAW 2110 and AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement. Welcome: Molly Nolan, Professor of History, NYU, and Brooklyn for Peace; Chair: Thomas Harrison, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy. Sponsored by the NYU Department of History, co-sponsored by Campaign for Peace and Democracy, AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement, Monthly Review Press, and The Marxist Education Project.
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2pm, Philadelphia, Drexel University (Room 114 PSA building, 3240 Powelton Avenue). Sponsored by Drexel's Department of Anthropology, Graduate Program in Communication, Culture and Media, and the Drexel Socialists Club.
  • Wednesday, May 31, 6:30pm, Washington D.C., 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. Co-sponsored by Busboys and Poets, CODEPINK, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Jacobin and Metro DC DSA.
  • Weekend of June 2-4-Left Forum, NYC, John Jay College, 899 Tenth Avenue, Manhattan.Two panels, date and time to be announced.
  • Panel #1: What Next for the European Left: Confronting the Challenge of Right Wing "Populism," Helena Sheehan, Kevin Anderson, who teaches Sociology, Political Science, and Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is a member of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization, and Catarina Principe, member of Bloco de Esquerda (Portugal) and a contributing editor at Jacobin. Co-sponsored by Campaign for Peace and Democracy, New Politics, and International Marxist-Humanist Organization. 
  • Panel #2: The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left with author Helena Sheehan plus Despina Lalaki, Adj. Assistant Professor, Sociology, Baruch College, CUNY; Member, AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement, and Aaron Amaral, labor lawyer and  member of the International Socialist Organization and AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement. Co-sponsored by Campaign for Peace and Democracy, AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement, and New Politics.
  • PLEASE NOTE: The May 24 Brooklyn Commons meeting has been moved to May 25 at NYU.

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.

The Syriza Wave book cover

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.

The Syriza Wave can be ordered from the publisher, Monthly Review Press, here.