Po­lit­i­cal delu­sions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

Cri­sis nour­ishes delu­sions – and this is ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing at the mo­ment. The first ma­jor delu­sion, which orig­i­nates from Greece’s chronic in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex, is that any­thing West­ern is in­fal­li­ble, at least in tech­no­cratic mat­ters. The gov­ern­ment of Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou fell pray to this very delu­sion as it ac­cepted the con­di­tions of the mem­o­ran­dum signed with Greece’s in­ter­na­tional len­ders with­out any bar­gain­ing what­so­ever. The delu­sion was de­feated as the West­ern pre­scrip­tion turned out to be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. The next delu­sion, which was in fact more per­ilous than the first, was that Pa­pan­dreou would carry out the pro­vi­sions of the mem­o­ran­dum and im­ple­ment the de­ci­sions and the laws passed in the Greek Par­lia­ment as a pre­con­di­tion for the 110-bil­lion-euro loan from the Euro­pean Union and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund. The cham­pi­ons of this idea seem to for­get that the prime min­is­ter and his mod­ernist-minded aides, as it were, have ac­tu­ally emerged and ma­tured po­lit­i­cally within the con­tours of PASOK, that pe­cu­liar move­ment es­tab­lished by the late An­dreas Pa­pan­dreou that went on to leave its mark on Greece’s po­lit­i­cal life. Well, this move­ment has ev­i­dently come full cir­cle. Yet an­other delu­sion is that the odds would be dif­fer­ent if New Democ­racy, the main op­po­si­tion party led by An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, had thrown its weight be­hind the gov­ern­ment ef­forts, in­stead of fight­ing against it. In­ter­est­ingly, it’s the same peo­ple who ques­tion the abil­ity of our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem to han­dle the cri­sis. If the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem is re­ally dis­cred­ited, as some crit­ics hold, then even a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the two main­stream par­ties, PASOK and New Democ­racy, would not be enough to save the day. Af­ter all, opin­ion polls show that both par­ties are in de­cline de­spite their di­ver­gent po­si­tions on the mem- oran­dum. Mean­while, the smaller par­ties – bar­ring the Com­mu­nists – have only marginally ben­e­fited from the shrink­ing power of their more pow­er­ful peers. Greece’s prob­lem is not re­ally eco­nomic in the tech­no­cratic sense of the term, as some self-styled an­a­lysts would have us be­lieve. It is rather a po­lit­i­cal one in the sense that so­ci­ety has be­come stu­porous and de­featist. Over­com­ing the cri­sis de­mands creativ­ity and en­thu­si­asm. It pre­sup­poses re­build­ing cit­i­zen morale. This is where Pa­pan­dreou has failed most spec­tac­u­larly – and that fail­ure is, above all, po­lit­i­cal.

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