The pas­sions of the left

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

It ap­pears that SYRIZA is on the brink of a com­plete melt­down. This gath­er­ing of mot­ley Marx­ists col­lapsed un­der the pres­sure of the ad­just­ment that comes with the ex­er­cise of power. The var­i­ous fac­tions within the left­ist party were un­able to come to terms with the changes ac­cepted by Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, pre­fer­ring in­stead to main­tain their ide­o­log­i­cal pu­rity. The fact is that the left in Greece has al­ways been ob­sessed with its own demise. Its war cries are noth­ing short of la­men­ta­tions. It likes to cause a stir, mix things up, but it is its vic­tim­hood that keeps it alive. Be­trayal is the ex­pla­na­tion for ev­ery fail­ure, even for those jump­ing the SYRIZA ship. Tsipras be­lieves that he has the cit­i­zens’ un­wa­ver­ing sup­port. He may be la­bor­ing un­der the worst of delu­sions but if his belief is jus­ti­fied and SYRIZA is not crushed in the polls, he will be a unique case. Since the restora­tion of democ­racy, Greece has had two lead­ers with un­ques­tion­able stature and skill: Con­stan­tine Kara­man­lis and An­dreas Pa­pan­dreou. They, how­ever, were backed by ro­bust party mech­a­nisms, by of­fi­cials and sup­port­ers who threw them­selves pas­sion­ately into the fray for vic­tory. This is not the case with the cur­rent prime min­is­ter. In the seven months since he was elected, Tsipras has bla­tantly dashed vot­ers’ hopes and ex­pec­ta­tions. He came un­der at­tack from the Euro­pean es- tab­lish­ment and, when he even­tu­ally agreed to a deal with Greece’s part­ners, faced fer­vent re­ac­tions from in­side his party. From a rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader of Euro­pean pro­por­tions, Tsipras be­came a vic­tim of cir­cum­stance – in other words, he be­came the ideal of the Greek left. It is, how­ever, in­ter­est­ing to see how vot­ers will act at the bal­lot box, cit­i­zens who for the past five years have felt that they are vic­tims of Euro­pean bru­tal­ity and the in­fi­delity of Greece’s es­tab­lished po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. On a prac­ti­cal level, Tsipras has signed the ul­ti­mate mem­o­ran­dum, a deal con­tain­ing all of the mea­sures that since 2010 a suc­ces­sion of pro-Euro­pean gov­ern­ments had pushed un­der the car­pet out of fear of the po­lit­i­cal cost. It is hardly sur­pris­ing, there­fore, that the de­ci­sion by the head of SYRIZA – or what’s left of him – to call snap elec­tions re­ceived a pos­i­tive re­sponse from the lead­ers of the eu­ro­zone and the so-called in­sti­tu­tions. Nor­mally, those who wanted Greece to re­main in the eu­ro­zone should have voted for Tsipras. They did not, though, be­cause the main goal of the pro-Euro­peans was to en­sure he never came to power. The tragedy is that what­ever gov­ern­ment emerges from the elec­tions will be obliged to en­force the mem­o­ran­dum ne­go­ti­ated by SYRIZA. And that’s when the real tragedy will be­gin.

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