Tuesday, 24 September 2013

ANALYSIS: Time for the Greek liberal/left to combine and fight its real enemies, not Golden Dawn

An appeal to Greece from one of its oldest supporters

I’ve been spending quite a l0t of time time travelling in and out of, and around, Greece over the last month. Last night I was in Kalamata -  the Messinian capital in the Peloponnese, a warm place with cool people in it….albeit alongside the increased level of muggings and burglary that have marred Greece since the crisis took hold in a big way four years ago.
Although Kalamatians miss the elegant capital they used to inhabit, there are still huge parts of it – the Castle, the old town, the seafront taverna bars and the newer hip venues in the centre – that could rival any civilised European city for fascination and charm. Now that Antoniki (Samaras) has corruptly ensured a spanking new motorway links his home region to Athens, Kalamata offers easy access to all things of real importance in contemporary Greece. Traditionally, this area is solidly Right Wing (New Democracy) but last night Kalamata was the venue for a large joint Left demonstration in the centre against the neo-Nazi Party Golden Dawn. Or – put another way – the Left in Greece is just as parochial in its hatreds (and irrelevant in its enemies) as it is everywhere else in Europe.

The more time I spend in Greece, the more it becomes obvious that it is the same squeezed, respectable middle and lower classes that are paying the price of mad EU hubris, corrupt bureaucrats, political embezzlers and professional State rip-off greed as elsewhere in Europe. But equally obvious is the Left’s riven and outdated focus on a bunch of directionless clowns playing at being Nazis….a Far Right which, after its recent appalling behaviour here, has made even Prime Minister Samaras understand he must keep his distance from them.
The Demo I watched last night contained nothing more than rote-slogans about fascists and neo-Nazis and ‘Golden Dawn out-out-out’. It’s like watching the Hard Left forty years ago in Britain wittering on about Rock against Racism and building the Anti-Fascist League against the tiny minority of BNP loons who represent an infinitessimal proportion of the votes being cast at 95% of elections. And while it is fair to say that Golden Dawn has made huge gains in recent years, its support has stalled – whereas the Alexis Tsipras phenomenon around Syriza has once again returned to growth. The Communist (KKE) ranks remain strong and influential: but Tsipras the strategist remains fearful of alienating the ‘middle to lower middle’ vote…or turning it back towards Golden Dawn.
As a means of cementing his support in that part of the Greek demography, the Syriza leader has now moved the Party’s position to one of broadly accepting the single currency as a given. This is a tragic error, and risks fracturing the fragile Front he has built with the Democratic Left and some within KKE. He is right to embrace the fears of Greek patriots (the country is, after all, under rapacious economic occupation) but wrong to expect any great support from the older, more stolid ranks of the squeezed middle.
He should spend more time listening to the witterings of those latter folks. They are incredibly willing to swallow whole the elephant-sized bollocks being dished out by the Government coalition about debt forgiveness, recovery in 2014, special low rates, and extended periods for Greek Troika repayments. That entire axis of vain hope represents only a combination of two realities: Brussels realising that ClubMed is on a knife-edge, and could easily destroy the euro in the next twelve months; and Berlin wanting to get Angela Merkel safely reelected.
Greece’s Leftist rainbow from disgruntled Pasokists via Syriza to the KKE needs to wake up fast to four blatant realities: Greece will need another bailout next Spring, and then Brussels-am-Berlin will turn nasty; the euro is going to fail, and thus further pain is even more pointless that that already experienced; their enemy is not Golden Dawn, but rather the professional and political classes complicit in the ravishing of the Greek State; and the traditional middle is never going to come over to their cause.
The same Patriotic Liberal/Left Front is required as that created before and during the ejection of the Colonels’ Junta. This time however, it must eject over time three things from Greece: Establishment corruption, the euro, and rule from Brussels. Rejecting the euro means default on the remaining debt (which has not a snowball in Hell’s chance of ever being repaid); that means leaving the eurozone. And ending Brussels rule is the only way to starve the Establishment beast that is slowly devouring Greek social standards, Hellenic culture, and the tax income from the decent classes performing productive work.
Failing to remove any one of these obstacles to Greek progress will doom the Hellenic Republic to long-term darkness. If the corruption stays, the self-appointed élites will continue to rip off a struggling State, and their bureaucratic allies will hinder the growth of everything from Greek agricultural exports via entrepreneurial manufacturing to tourism. And if the grip of Brussels-am-Berlin remains around the Greek throat, then Greece’s restoration to being a more competitive economy on its own terms will be long delayed to the point of tragic disaster for its people. It will become, in very short order, simply a bigger Cyprus.
Over the last eight months, The Slog’s readership in Greece has fallen. I believe a large part of this is the direct result of some in the formerly angry squeezed middle falling for the bromides of the Samaras the intellectual pigmy, and his junior partner Evangelos Megabellyzos. I ask my Greek friends and former supporters to now please RT, reblog and email the link to this piece to as many deluded Greeks as possible.
To Sloggers on Twitter, I issue an appeal to please put out one or more of the following tweets there using the link to this piece:
Why Greece’s liberal/left thinkers must unite and default, or die.
The euro will fail: why Greece should end the pain via a liberal/left coalition.
Greece’s professional & political classes complicit in ravishing of Greek State.

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