SYRIZA and the flame of rev­o­lu­tion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

SYRIZA’s com­plex-rid­den re­la­tion­ship with the hard boys of the an­ar­chist scene will end in tears. The rul­ing party is fooling it­self that de­spite be­ing in power it can re­main an ac­tivist move­ment, and so, in­stead of try­ing to put lim­its on anti-es­tab­lish­ment forces, it likes to be­lieve it can main­tain good terms with them. The lat­ter, how­ever, in their need to break free from this em­brace – while ex­ploit­ing the im­punity it gives them – be­have in an in­creas­ingly aggressive way. SYRIZA’s flat­tery, in other words, does not un­der­mine the spirit of re­bel­lion among the kids in cargo shorts and hood­ies; on the con­trary, it fills them with self­con­fi­dence, giv­ing them an in­sti­tu­tional aura. Maybe we are al­ready at the point where the fan­ta­sist rebels will see any ef­fort to rein them in as an act of war. A week ago, when two SYRIZA MPs joined a demon­stra­tion in sol­i­dar­ity with a young woman con­victed on ter­ror­ism charges, they came un­der a hail of cof­fee cups and wa­ter bot­tles. The mob wanted to show that its pri­or­ity was to de­fend its revo­lu­tion­ary pu­rity, that it would tol­er­ate noth­ing less than anti-es­tab­lish­ment ac­tivism. Two days later, af­ter se­nior gov­ern­ment mem­bers loudly crit­i­cized a coun­cil of judges that re­jected a mo­tion to sus­pend the young con­vict’s sen­tence, en­raged youths were al­lowed to ram­page through Athens’s most com­mer­cial dis­trict, Er­mou Street, smash­ing scores of shopfronts at will. How could the po­lice clash with those who were sim­ply ex­press­ing in ac­tion the anger at the ju­di­ciary that SYRIZA first de­clared? How could the van­dals be ex­pected to show self-re­straint when this would leave the field of right­eous anger to the gov­ern­ment? This ques­tion hangs over the city as, al­most ev­ery night, gangs of youths at­tack po­lice, in­vade public and pri­vate spa­ces, cause dam­age and then leave with­out be­ing chal­lenged, con­tin­u­ally ex­pand­ing their field of ac­tiv­ity. We have of­ten seen that when less ex­treme forces adopt the lan­guage and tac­tics of ex­trem­ists, it is the lat­ter who win – they gain le­git­i­macy and, at the same time, they are pushed to ever more ex­treme acts so as to main­tain their street cred­i­bil­ity. The self-pro­claimed an­ar­chists’ mo­tives are sim­ple: they want to pro­voke so­ci­ety to the great­est ex­tent pos­si­ble. SYRIZA, which un­der­took the coun­try’s gov­er­nance two-and-a-half years ago, has not de­cided whether its pri­or­ity is to de­fend cit­i­zens’ in­ter­ests or to main­tain its own myths. And as long as an­ar­chy is al­lowed to ex­pand, the later clash will be worse. Un­less, of course, it is SYRIZA’s plan all along to leave be­hind it a coun­try that is im­pos­si­ble to gov­ern.

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