On the heels of the European Parliament elections, Greece and many of its European “partners” find themselves faced with a rising tide of Euroscepticism, with the electorate resoundingly rejecting Merkelism in Greece and elsewhere.
In France and Great Britain, victories by Marine Le Pen’ s National Front and Nigel Farage’ UKIP parties, both of which oppose EU integration to say the least, represent a staunch opposition to EU (aka German) hegemony, while the defeat of the ruling parties in Greece is a verdict against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s brutal austerity policies which are plunging people all across the continent into poverty and misery.
Meanwhile, Brussels bureaucrats continue to be unwilling or unable to satisfactorily address issues such as illegal immigration and internal demographic shifts within EU borders, which are turning into a powder keg.
Greece was the only EU member state where a party from the left placed first in elections (SYRIZA) – retaining almost the same dynamism from national elections in 2012, while the two parties composing the ruling coalition lost a combined total of 11 percent of their voting bloc.
The pro-fascist Golden Dawn Party also placed a strong third, drawing just under 10 percent in Euroelections and passing the 15 percent mark in Athens’ mayoral election. This, of course, was condemned all the other Greek political parties and drew international coverage.
Other equally troubling developments included the “soccerification” of Greek politics, with the President of the Olympiacos soccer club becoming the new “shadow” mayor of Piraeus and laying the groundwork for a new party based solely on the affinity of his team’s fans, and the strong showing of a pro-Turkish party in the northeastern Greek provinces of Xanthi and Rodopi, strengthening Turkish machinations in the area even further.
And while it is clear that the number-one reason for Greek voters’ erratic behavior at the polls is the unprecedented austerity measures that have been forced onto the country and its official guinea-pig status in Angela Merkel’s Europe, everyone but the politicians seem to have gotten the point.
The sudden “puritanical” view of the entire lot of Greek political parties against the extremist Golden Dawn party has only served to strengthen the latter.
While the allegations hurled against it by the ruling and opposition parties alike that it is a “criminal organization” may very well be true, these “crusaders” neglect to concede one important fact: that in the eyes of the people, the vast majority of the other large parties are also “criminal organizations.” And so, Greek politicians’ aversion to the rise of Golden Dawn is akin to the pot calling the kettle black.
While the average Greek politician may not be as directly linked as Golden Dawn cadres to violent assaults, the 6,000-plus suicides that resulted from the inhuman austerity measures applied upon the people and the decades of direct involvement turning Greece from a democracy to a kleptocracy cannot be expunged from the social conscience.
The unwillingness to bring even one oligarch from the Lagarde List to justice for failure to pay taxes while entire families are being thrown onto the street and helpless individuals imprisoned for preposterous debts and state onslaughts against individual ownership does constitute criminality.
Likewise, the fomenting of anarchy and the mindless destruction of public and private property – which in some instances even resulted in death (Marfin Bank) is no less criminal.
And so, it is at the very least hypocritical for Greek political leaders to take the moral high ground when hopeless citizens display their consternation by making extremist choices to try and “shock the system.”
If they were truly mortified by the rise of Golden Dawn, the only honorable thing to do would be to resign from their post in recognition that they have let the public down, but honor is a word that has long since been erased from the collective vocabulary of Greek politics.
Worst of all, the absence of any genuine patriotic discourse in Greek politics has allowed extremist nationalist groups to dominate this rhetoric and has cast any “love for country” in a negative light. This, in turn, has led to a depatriotization in political discourse, which may allow parties sponsored by Turkish agents to increase their strength and threaten national integrity.
The opportunity for any real change was lost when the “old guard” failed to be swept out of power at the height of the Greek crisis. Nonetheless, it is surely naive to believe that the same band of politicians who sent Greece plunging to its current sorry state will ever be in a position to raise the country’s standing internationally and rebuild what they have spent decades destroying through corruption and partisanship. This holds true for both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum.
European officials know it, which is why they will continue to advance the same vicious agenda regardless of which party gets elected because they are certain of Greek politicians allegiance to their offices and the privileges that accompany them instead of to their people.
The Greek people know it, which is why they have adopted increasingly more extreme choices at the ballot. The only ones who don’t seem to realize it (or at least pretend they don’t) are Greek politicians.
Instead of blaming the voters who chose extremist parties like Golden Dawn, they should blame themselves for cultivating the groundwork that brought this fascistic party to the forefront.
The only likely solution to reversing the growth of this dangerous party would be the symbolic resignations of today’s party leaders (ruling and opposition). Before one can correct a situation, one must repent. It would be the first step in curing the ills of Greek politics.
Follow me on Twitter @CTripoulas