Because there’s no real difference between the New Democracy Uber-Conservatives and the PASOK Anti-Socialists who’ve taken turns plundering Greece’s treasury the past 35 years, and said they are both willing (kind of) to keep pressing Greeks with austerity measures, groups who are opposed to the pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions, and coming firing of 150,000 workers in return for international aid are rising in polls ahead of the coming elections to choose a new puppet leader for Greece.
While New Democracy leader Antonis “Mr. Bean Counter” Samaras’ party is leading, he’s showing just around 17-20 percent in surveys. Considering that 35 percent of Greeks say they won’t vote because the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) runs Greece the way the United States ran much of Latin America some years ago, that means Samaras really can count on support only from about 12 percent of Greeks. That would mean 88 percent of the people didn’t want him. While he was Finance Minister, PASOK’s new leader, Evangelos “The Emperor” Venizelos, doubled income and property taxes, taxed the poor, and treated people like something he wanted to scrape off the bottom of his shoe, so his party is struggling along with somewhere from 10-15 percent. His idea of campaigning is to preach to the choir of the suckers who still believe him.
Samaras opposed austerity when former PASOK leader George Papandreou was prime minister before being hounded out of office and resigning on Nov. 11 following relentless protests, riots, and strikes against austerity. When he had a chance to join a coalition government right after that, Samaras made feeble protests but said he supported austerity because it gave him a chance to share power for a while. Now he says he opposes it again, just the kind of integrity you want in a leader, so maybe he’d better bone up on his Greek history and remember the words of Heraclitus: “A man’s character is his fate.”
Venizelos, who engineered a second bailout of $172 billion from the Troika to go along with a first series of $152 billion in rescue loans, also went along with a cut in the minimum wage of 22-32 percent, and let tax evaders who owe the country more than $72 billion walk around, said his critics were guilty of “hypocrisy, demagoguery, populism and irresponsibility.” He forgot accuracy. If he wins, Greeks will show themselves to be as stupid and gullible as he believes they are and deserve whatever happens to them without protest. Enough Greeks have become disillusioned enough to want anybody except New Democracy and PASOK, and the polls show there could be as many as nine parties in the 300-member Parliament. That is despite Samaras’ pathetic begging for Greeks to give him a majority so that he could – in his words, not have his hands tied – difficult to do anyway for someone who flips and flops more than a shark pulled onto a tourist boat. Former Members of Parliament from New Democracy and PASOK kicked out of the parties for refusing to obey orders instead of voting their conscience have formed new parties. Worried about losing even more support, and being invertebrates, Samaras and Venizelos have offered some of their rejectees a chance to grovel and some of them are crawling back into the holes from whence they came.
Samaras told the Athens newspaper Kathimerini that if New Democracy could form a government on its own, as prime minister he would have a stronger negotiating position abroad and his administration would be in a better position to make changes at home. He was lying, of course, because he’s already been hog-tied by his own treachery, and if he tries to go back on his word with the Troika as he has with Greeks they’ll shut off the loan pipeline faster than you can say flip-flop. Right on the Achilles heels of New Democracy and PASOK is the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the Democratic Left – a kind of PASOK Lite party – and the Communists, who don’t really want to win because they wouldn’t know what to do if they did except for passing out spare parts for 1957 Chevrolets and hoping to set up a sugar cane export industry for Greece and hand everyone machetes to work the fields. The xenophobic far Right-Wing LAOS party of George Karatzaferis, who joined the coalition and left too late to realize his support was sinking faster than a boatload of African immigrants off the coast of Greece, is in danger of slipping below the 3 percent threshold needed to get seats in Parliament.
But all fans of racism and insanity need not worry because surging to take the place of LAOS is the far-far-far-far-Right Wing they-all-flew-over-the-cuckoo’s nest neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party whose platform is to beat up everyone who isn’t a direct descendant of Pericles, which includes all of them. Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos said Golden Dawn is riding a tide of rage against austerity and the mainstream parties and Greeks could see some of its members in Parliament giving a Heil Hitler salute 68 years after the Nazis were pushed out of Greece. “If we don’t wake up early enough … there will be major damage,” he said. The damage has already been done.