The end of an era

05/07/2019
A Greek comment on the European election results
by Paremvasi
The results of the recent triple elections (european, regional, local) signify the end of an era, a process that has been going on since 2015. The social and the organized left find it difficult to accept it. After the referendum in 2015, Greece has entered a new, tougher and more conservative political reality, in which two similar parties (SYRIZA and New Democracy) pursue similar policies, the Left counts but never heals its wounds and the extreme right raises in prominence, changing expressions and forms.
From better times when people still had hopes in Syriza

SYRIZA has shaken the resisting popular spirit, once dominant throughout the period of the massive struggles against the memoranda, and it has proven to be the worst graveyard of the Left, of its values and its diversity. The conservative shift of the society is quite strong, not only in Greece but also in Europe.

The overwhelming electoral difference between New Democracy and SYRIZA proves that a society constantly trained on the logic of “the least bad option is the best option” will eventually choose the worse option. We have seen it happening thousands of times in the past, we see it happening again. New Democracy´s best promoter has been Tsipras himself. The policy of SYRIZA has legitimized the past memoranda policy of New Democracy and has consolidated the doctrine of TINA (there is no alternative), paving the way to the present neoliberal extremity of New Democracy. The spasmodic, bonus-type policies that SYRIZA has promoted the previous few weeks, do not mark a change of course, they do not mark "another model" or “another world", as SYRIZA claims. They are, in fact, the peak of the dominant, imposed neo-liberal policy. Both poles of the political system, New Democracy and SYRIZA, accept the Euro-Atlantic framework that has been imposed by the country´s creditors and its major supervisor. SYRIZA came in power with a specific political program, but it has since joined the camp of the opponents and has implemented the exact opposite of what it had once promised. This is the reality and the promotion of an extra, 13th pension per year will not change it, especially when this is happening in the most provocative, pre-electoral way.

SYRIZA’s ideological liberation and legitimization of neoliberalism paved the way to the glorious, triumphant return of the right wing. If we resist to the upcoming turmoil using old-fashioned, shattered weapons, we are deemed to fail, the same way the attempt to stop neoliberalism by joining neoliberalism has failed. If we want to keep a small hope alive, that the popular movement can and will be resumed, we need to enter a process of demolition of the existing structures and reconstruction with new materials.

The organized Left, with its political programs and its organizational structures, has long seemed intolerable and unreliable in the eyes of the people and the social left. The Communist party, having waited for long to profit from SYRIZA’s electoral losses, has eventually lost even more votes in comparison to the previous elections. The statements of support of various prominent former members of SYRIZA have not helped. Ironically enough, these were the ones that passionately supported SYRIZA in 2015 and severely criticized those that chose to go against the stream. The same believed today that the communist party would certainly gather the left dissatisfaction in total. The Communist party, harmless and useful for the local and the European system, abstained from its imminent tasks and from the popular demands by simply propagating the "heavenly" socialism but it has once again managed to “stay alive”. It "stayed alive” during the great economic and political crisis of 2010-2015, watching SYRIZA rising in power, it survives again nowadays, watching New Democracy rising in power. Well done Communist Party, the question remains, though, whether and when the KKE will simply stop "surviving" and will put itself and its forces not just at the service of the party but at the service of the reconstruction of the popular movement. It will be difficult for the KKE to bet, if at the forthcoming elections it can withstand the dilemma of bipolarity, or if it will lose even more voters.

The only force at the left of SYRIZA that has managed to gain support is Varoufakis and that has been expected and it has a reasonable explanation. Varoufakis has not been a self-referential choice like others have. He has promoted a pan-European program of social democratic origin, he has reminded the society of the lost dignity of the resistance of the Greek people during the referendum, he did not get involved with the internal Greek political scene. It is difficult for him to keep the same percentage at the parliamentary elections, but he is a vivid reminder that there would have been space and possibilities at the left of SYRIZA, if things were different.

The electoral scores of LAE and ANTARSYA have also been predictable. Both percentages would begin with zero, the only (sad) interest was the decimal and the ranking. LAE is falling apart, as the ballot box has proven what the whole world - apart from LAEs´ staff – has already known: LAE is simply not convincing enough. Lafazanis should have claimed his responsibilities already in 2015, when it became clear that this political staff could not lead to a new potential. It should have also come along with a complete change of the personality and the orientation of the party and a divorce with the farcical claims that "the system is afraid of LAE". To defend the organized people of the left that abandoned SYRIZA in 2015, not to let them return to Tsipras defeated or give in to KKE's monastic logic or choose the path of individualism is an extremely difficult duty, but it is the duty of those who understand the magnitude of the defeat. ANTARSYA is in no better position, but its political staff will try to point to the loses of the other left-wing forces to make its own defeat look like a success. The distortion of the reality in the case of ANTARSYA will present a smaller version of the “staying alive” rhetoric, pointing to the gains in seats at the local councils, a result of the new proportional electoral system and not of a rise in votes. Hypocritically enough, it will try to blur out the two opposing ballot lists of ANTARSYA at the two biggest municipalities. The internal discussion about the victory of SEK over NAR (the two biggest fractions of ANTARSYA) will simply follow the discussion about the "victory" of ANTARSYA over LAE.

Looking into the future means that the social and political forces inside or outside the existing Left that perceive the magnitude of the defeat and the work that needs to be invested to reverse it, they should get divorced with their habits. They have nothing to lose but the chains that keep them locked in faces, shapes and situations, that keep the Left bared, harmless, self-referential, permanently satisfied with itself and permanently unreliable in the face of the society and the working people.

 
Paremvasi is a political organisation of the communist left in Greece, fighting for:
 
- the reconstruction of the communist left,
- the creation of a political and social front against neoliberalism to lead the way out of the ongoing economic, social and political crisis,
- the organisation of the people and the mass movement.