---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Giorgos Mitralias <giorgos.mitral...@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, May 26, 2023, 19:53
Subject: Fwd: To be published
To: Sukla Sen <sukla....@gmail.com>

[image: greek elections 2023]
*Greece: **right-wing landslide, left-wing collapse. Surprise or predicted
electoral result?*

*by Yorgos Mitralias*

How can we explain the victory, or rather triumph, of the Greek right and
the defeat, or rather collapse, of the Syriza Left in the May 21 elections?
How do we explain the fact that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's New
Democracy (ND) party more than doubled (41%) Syriza's score (20%)? And how
can we explain the fact that, right up until the eve of the elections, the
Left - practically of all persuasions - was predicting electoral results
that would serve as a springboard for the final assault by a burgeoning
Greek popular movement against the power of a weakened and crisis-stricken

Rather than looking for the causes of all these huge "surprises" in the
"communication errors" traditionally evoked after defeats, or in this or
that pre-election "blunder" committed by someone who can be used as a
scapegoat (as, for example, former Foreign Minister George Katrougalos is
currently doing) in order to save his boss, we prefer to look deeper,
starting by recalling a fact understandable to European readers because it
refers to the recent Greek rail disaster, which was widely commented on
well beyond Greece (1). As you will recall, the transport minister
responsible for the accident, Konstantin Karamanlis jr., was forced to
resign, and part of the political and media Right campaigned for him not to
stand for re-election so that his party (ND) could avoid electoral defeat.
To all this we might add that, a few days before the elections, the
families of the 56 people killed in the rail disaster demonstrated in front
of Mr. Karamanlis' electoral office, shouting "Karamanlis' place is not in
Parliament but in prison!” In the end, however, Mr Karamanlis not only won
re-election, he made a real splash!...

The case of Mr. Karamanlis' triumphant re-election speaks for itself, and
is also highly emblematic of the current state of Greek society. So, if we
want to find the causes of the recent electoral "surprises" not on the
surface but in the depths of Greek realities, we have to start by accepting
as a starting point the observation that current Greek society is very
conservative and even downright reactionary. In other words, it is terribly
racist, much more so than Polish society, a fact confirmed year after year
not only by facts but also by opinion polls, including the annual ISTAT
surveys. That, with a few exceptions, it systematically closes its eyes and
ears to the countless inhumane - often murderous - acts by the authorities
against migrants, which have been denounced and publicly condemned by
dozens of NGOs (who are often called... "terrorists" by the Greek
government), as well as by the UN, the Council of Europe and even
the...European Commission! That it persists in cultivating an aggressive
chauvinism against its Balkan neighbors, also perpetuating an ancient and
virulent anti-Semitism which manifests itself above all in the desecration
of Jewish cemeteries, since there are virtually no Jews left alive in
Greece after the Shoah. And also, that a very high proportion of it
declares itself pro-Russian, pro-Putin and anti-Ukrainian like nowhere
else, just as it was pro-Milosevic and pro-Karadjic 30 years ago during the
Yugoslav wars. It also votes by the hundreds of thousands for racist
parties that fall somewhere between the extreme right and outright
neo-Nazism. That's why, in the absence of the dissolved and banned Golden
Dawn party, the various parties of the Greek far right came to just over
10% in the last elections. And this despite the fact that the traditional
right-wing New Democracy, which includes a very strong wing of right-wing
extremists, has just triumphed with 41% of the vote...

But how could the Greeks have become so conservative or even reactionary
when these same Greeks voted en masse in favor of and brought to power a
rather radical Left (Syriza) only eight years ago? The answer to this
critical and essential question has nothing to do with metaphysics, DNA or
Greek "predispositions". In reality, the real metamorphosis of Greek
society in the space of a few years has not fallen from the sky, but is the
direct consequence of the political choices made by the Syriza leadership
when it governed the country from 2015 to 2019. The story is well known and
cannot be summed up by the capitulation of July 2015, when Tsipras and his
friends betrayed the trust of their voters and the 60% of Greeks who had
voted NO to submission to the dictates of the EU and IMF creditors. In
reality, Syriza's enormous betrayal was made up of countless small, medium
and large capitulations, which have continued after 2019 and right up to
the present day, and have contributed to the metamorphosis of this party
from an allegedly radical left one to a party whose leaders no longer
hesitate to define as ... "center-left"...

The consequences have been and continue to be dramatic. Both in Greece and
beyond. As we wrote back in August 2015, *"**the situation created in the
international socialist and progressive movement by* *Syriza's capitulation
is terribly dangerous. It is not just that there are thousands and
thousands of people who are forced to abandon all activism and to withdraw
into themselves; nor that there are as many who feel paralyzed and choose
to wait passively for the course of events, it* *is especially that
Syriza's betrayal comes at a very critical historical moment, when the
racist extreme right is advancing almost everywhere in our continent, which
already makes immediate and direct the threat that many of the citizens
Europeans disappointed by Syriza will fall prey to this* *racist and
neo-fascist self-proclaimed "anti-systemic" extreme right”* (2) And a few
months later, still in 2015, we noted the devastation already wrought by
Syriza's capitulation, while warning that *"the great event that is opening
up pathways for the far right is, however, the disappointment caused to
tens of millions of European citizens, who recognize themselves neither in
the austerity policies nor in the corruption of the traditional neoliberal
parties, by the betrayal of their hopes invested in Syriza's Greece and
Podemos's Spain. When, on August 21, we were already talking about the
"criminal responsibilities of Mr. Tsipras" in "the catastrophic
international consequences of Syriza's announced capitulation" there were
very few people who really understood what we were talking about. Today,
when these "catastrophic international consequences" are staring us in the
face and appearing in all their nightmarish grandeur, who would still dare
to dispute the "criminal responsibilities" of Mr. Tsipras, but also of the
entire Syriza leadership, in the disappearance of the last hope that
constituted the last European dike able to hold back the tide of the
extreme Right?"(3)*

Taking advantage of the unpreparedness of the Right, which had only just
begun to reorganize itself, the lack of perspectives and scope of the rest
of the Left, and above all the apathy of the "people of the Left", who
remained stunned by the real blow they had received in 2015, Syriza was
able to stay in power until the end of the legislature. In fact, although
it was beaten by ND in the 2019 elections, it relinquished power with a
more than respectable result (31%).

But Syriza's time in opposition has not served the leadership well, either
in recognizing its mistakes or in correcting its course. On the contrary,
it continued and even deepened its right-wing drift towards a mythical
"center" that it wanted - in vain - to compete with the Right. This is how,
with the distance from power, we arrived at the disaster of the May 21,
2023 elections. The Syriza "miracle" was coming to an end, and the party of
2023 was nothing like, or rather the antithesis of, what it had been in the
beginning: *from a unitary grouping (unique in the world!) of a dozen
left-wing and far-left parties and organizations, Syriza had become a party
of careerist notables and other defectors from a dying PASOK. The circle
had been completed, and the initial radicalism had now been replaced by the
arrogance and cynicism of the nouveau riches...*

And what about the rest of the Greek Left? The fact that it is hardly
benefiting from Syriza's collapse speaks volumes about its current
limitations. The far-left *Antarsya* coalition remains remarkably stable,
repeating (ad infinitum?) its 0.5% result. And the ever viscerally
sectarian *Greek Communist Party (KKE*) calls the fact that its result has
risen from the 5.3% of 2019 to the current 7.2% a "great victory" and, as
usual, remains cowering in its corner, still harmless to the Right, which
respects it and leaves it alone just as much as the KKE respects it and
leaves it alone to govern the country. As for Mr. *Varoufakis* and his
allies in the Popular Union (LAE), their result (2.6%) is more than
eloquent: not only do they fail to confirm the triumphalist forecasts -
bordering on mythomania - at which Mr. Varoufakis traditionally excels, but
they don't even manage to enter Parliament, and are down (-30%) on 2019!
Once again, Mr. Varoufakis' inconsistency has not paid off, despite the
fact that he has done everything to surpass even his LAE allies in
unconditional Putinism...

Obviously, the conclusion cannot be optimistic. When the right-wing New
Democracy manages not just to win, but to triumph, despite the generally
accepted fact that Mr. Mitsotakis's highly neoliberal government has been
overwhelmed by a tsunami of unprecedented scandals, the facts speak louder
than any analysis of the state of Greek society and the Greek
left. Likewise, Mr. Tsipras remains far less popular than Mr. Mitsotakis,
even though everyone knows and admits that the latter is unscrupulous and
does not hesitate to systematically bug even his own ministers and a few
thousand other friends and enemies. So Mr. Mitsotakis could remain
confident if it weren't for the extreme "volatility" that has characterized
Greek society for the past 15 years. As almost everywhere else in Europe,
social explosions are by no means out of the question, but the big problem
is that no one can predict who will benefit politically. Will it be a new,
united radical Left that we'll have to invent, or the extreme Right
that's steadily on the rise? What happens next promises to be very


1. See *"Greece: The infamy of a predicted terrible rail disaster*”*: *

2. See "*The catastrophic consequences of the announced international
capitulation of Syriza ... and the criminal responsibility of Mr. Tsipras*”*:

3. *« Les responsabilités criminelles de la gauche qui refuse de voir le
tsunami européen d’extrême droite »* *: *

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