An or­phan mem­o­ran­dum

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PA­PACHELAS

The Greek Par­lia­ment is ex­pected to ap­prove the new bailout agree­ment, or mem­o­ran­dum, in the next cou­ple of days. Ap­proval does not of course guar­an­tee im­ple­men­ta­tion. No re­form pro­gram has ever suc­ceeded with­out the sup­port of a rel­a­tively pop­u­lar gov­ern­ment. When the gov­ern­ment does not be­lieve that the pro­gram is nec­es­sary, there is lit­tle rea­son to be­lieve that state em­ploy­ees will im­ple­ment it, or that cit­i­zens will em­brace it. When left­ist Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras openly re­jects own­er­ship of the mem­o­ran­dum, how are peo­ple ex­pected to be­lieve that its im­ple­men­ta­tion is a na­tional goal? This means that the deal will be sim­ply voted through Par­lia­ment so that Greece can pay back the ECB and the IMF, and avert a col­lapse of the bank­ing sys­tem trig­gered by cap­i­tal con­trols. SYRIZA could evolve into a new PA­SOK, but I can’t see how it could evolve into a driv­ing force for re­form. In ev­ery key as­pect of public life, SYRIZA has sided with re­ac­tionary, re­form-averse el­e­ments. That could change, in the­ory. Re­formist-minded vot­ers would, in fact, be will­ing to back Tsipras fol­low­ing the adop­tion of the mem­o­ran­dum, un­der cer­tain con­di­tions: Tsipras must be clear about his aims and about the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials on whom he will rely. Un­til now, Tsipras has been mostly neb­u­lous about his goals and he has shown lit­tle in­cli­na­tion to make use of peo­ple be­yond nar­row par­ti­san con­tours. The new mem­o­ran­dum will fall through, or it may not even ac­tu­ally be put to work. It will re­main an or­phan mem­o­ran­dum, as it were, that will share the fate of those that went be­fore it: It will cause a storm of re­ac­tions, it will be voted on, and then it will re­main for the most part a dead let­ter. Five years on, no gov­ern­ment has suc­ceeded in build­ing its own, “Greek” mem­o­ran­dum – a plan that could mo­bi­lize the state as well as the peo­ple. Ev­ery “proud” ne­go­ti­a­tion ends up with the adop­tion of most troika de­mands. The mix­ture of po­lit­i­cal cow­ardice and poor man­age­ment has pro­duced the sorry saga we are now fa­mil­iar with. I do not want to kill the sum­mer op­ti­mism. The public wants an agree­ment, and they want sta­bil­ity. But the prob­lem will not just go away. Af­ter the elec­tions – which ev­ery­one seems to take for granted – the coun­try will switch back into un­cer­tainty mode. The state will keep its ane­mic course. The prob­lems dog­ging Greece’s real econ­omy will grow. Our or­phan mem­o­ran­dum will re­main unim­ple­mented for one, one-and-a-half months af­ter its ap­proval. Those who be­lieve that Greece will not make it are wait­ing around the cor­ner.

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