Back to square one

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS XYDAKIS

Any so­lu­tion to the cri­sis cur­rently dog­ging Greece is bound to be painful. Of course it is im­por­tant that we un­der­stand the so­lu­tion does not re­ally de­pend on us any­more. We have to move on with this in mind. So let’s de­cide how we can rally all our fight­ing forces to re­verse the de­cline and get the coun­try back on its feet. The most wor­ry­ing sign is the on­go­ing frag­men­ta­tion of so­ci­ety into ri­val groups fight­ing against each other. There is wide­spread mis­trust and ag­gres­sion is on the rise. The mag­ni­tude of the shock has fu­eled fear, and, af­ter that, anger. Peo­ple have de­vel­oped a ten­dency to­ward anti-po­lit­i­cal and, oc­ca­sion­ally, anti-so­cial be­hav­ior. As disas­ter strikes, the wounded and deeply dis­il­lu­sioned petty bour­geois are rea­son­ably blind to their own re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, they are blind to the com­mon good, and they can­not find a com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor or a point of con­ver­gence with their fel­low cit­i­zens. The vul­gar klep­toc­racy, which sealed the years of false ex­u­ber­ance, is now yield­ing its toxic fruit by tar­nish­ing sol­i­dar­ity, tol­er­ance and co­ex­is­tence. Ev­ery­body is look­ing sus­pi­ciously upon one an­other. Fed by de­based politi­cians, cor­rupt state of­fi­cials, state-de­pen­dent and tax-evad­ing en­trepreneurs, klep­toc­racy squan­dered pub­lic fi­nances and wrecked the sense of jus­tice and fair­ness. It is now threat­en­ing the very core of so­cial co­ex­is­tence. The crowds have, for the time be­ing, found a peace­ful out­let for their ac­cu­mu­lated fear and anger: the ri­tual of the pub­lic square. In a way, they are redis­cov­er­ing a sense of be­long­ing – even if that takes place in a con­text of eco­nomic mis­ery. But the on­go­ing in­jus­tice poses a threat to this frag­ile equi­lib­rium. As the low-and mid­dle-in­come classes con­tinue to be hit – now with­out a safety net, with­out faith in a com­mon goal, with­out moral re­lief in some sym­met­ri­cal bur­den-shar­ing – it will be­come more and more dif­fi­cult to keep within the zone of logic and mod­er­a­tion. The sud­den drop in liv­ing stan­dards is bound to bring un­ex­pected changes in mass be­hav­ior. The risk will be huge un­less the po­lit­i­cal class man­ages to meet the pop­u­lar de­mand for fairer bur­den­shar­ing and jus­tice – even at this last mo­ment.

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