Now, five years on, there’s a scene that keeps repeating itself in an almost comical way. The sequence is as follows: Elections are held. European, local, parliamentary, it is more or less indifferent. Whatever they were, SYRIZA was soundly, completely, utterly defeated. On election night, its leader (a month ago we would have invited Tsipras, but now there is a second model), goes on TV and says that Syriza must become a “broad democratic faction”.
Then he starts changing him like that with various efforts until the next election. Their failure is even more devastating, complete and utter. In the evening the President comes back on the channels and says that SYRIZA needs to be put together “Broad Democratic Division”.
It could go on forever. Till the sun goes down, till hell freezes over. Anyway, (almost) nobody cares and (almost) nobody cares. Meanwhile, this “Broad Democratic Division” Wherever SYRIZA is it will change and meanwhile – if we interpret the scriptures correctly – and PASOK, in general, has started to shrink.
It was 39.5% in 2019, 31.5% last May, just under 30% in June and 25% this Sunday. Worse still, the government candidates – except for Thessaly, which has gathered enough forces in the candidacy of Professor Gouretas – are only seriously threatened by other right-wing candidates.
The results of the “broad democratic division” are alarming: the right-wing 78% in East Macedonia & Thrace, 74% in North Aegean, 74% in Peloponnese, 69% in West Macedonia, 68% in Epirus, 66% in South Aegean, 64% in Central Macedonia, 60% in Ionian, 60% in Western Greece. 59%, 59% in Central Greece.
“But the centre-left has always been in the majority in Greece!” Well, Boomer. Anyone who thought he could survive politics by lying on this pad has lost his feathers. Alexis Tsipras, a politician who politicized to the core through a variety of unique ideas that facilitated his tactics, the last of which led to the hopeless downfall of the most dynamic political event of the last decade.
It was suggested that Syriza could become PASOK – and thus dominate Greek society – by gathering some old PASOK cadres into local government or trade unions, and gaining the support of some small press groups that previously supported Andreas and Simitis. Andreas Papandreou as himself as possible.
Sir, political movement is not static. Its interactions, hegemony formation within society, interaction between currents and finally change are as unstable as the waters of Euribus and not as stagnant as the stagnant waters of swamps. If Alexis Tsipras and Syriza have any doubts about this, they need only look at their own recent history.
Syriza went from 4.5% to 17%, then to 27%, and finally to 36%, not because it replaced one person within a given relation, but because it overthrew an existing relation and created another – and despite the polarization created around him. Great, it’s something that both friends and foes can understand today.
The idea of embracing pre-Syriza associations as sacrosanct and timeless primarily insults its recent history. His concern not to become a “party of crisis” is justified, but that does not justify the utopian enterprise of going back to another era and wearing someone else’s clothes.
This feeling never stopped asking itself. Christos Spirtzis was quick to propose Syriza’s joint descent with PASOK in the upcoming European elections. If we look at it only in numbers, this proposal makes sense: recent elections show that there is not enough room for two neighboring parties, especially now that neither of them completely dominates the other.
However, this does not answer the main problem. Since May, the right has secured a 60-to-40 lead over the left and center-left. This had never happened before, even in the early post-war years. To change is not to add forces, but to find a narrative that amplifies them.
The left and centre-left must prove themselves effective in three fields, most notably, regardless of who is called: economics, politics and – not least – the environment. That is, to convince them that they have a proposal that includes redistributing income, improving the functioning of the state in relation to individual and social rights, and halting environmental destruction.
If this can be done successfully, a rising current can be created without resorting to alliances and broad divisions. If there isn’t one, the amounts can always be increased and decreased. Unfortunately, that’s too much fun for the far-right waiting in the corner to take advantage of the public.
So far, no one in SYRIZA has started this debate – neither those who support Kassalakis nor those who demonize him. However, the new leader’s arguably void start doesn’t do justice to anyone else. Not even PASOK, which is only trying to make a wish to see SYRIZA fall.
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