Wednesday, May 02, 2012

On the one hand ...

... there is this from Costas Douzinas:
But the tectonic plates of society and politics are shifting. The many thousands who filled Syntagma and other squares last year were a leaderless movement without party or common ideology. Seasoned trade unionists and militants acted alongside first-time dissidents and protesters to change politics. They now have the chance to supplement their version of direct democracy and social solidarity with parliamentary representation. The election on Sunday could see not only the collapse of the political elite but also a redrawing of the political map, with the left replacing Pasok.

Post-civil war Greece exiled, imprisoned and persecuted the left, confining its parties to symbolic and ineffective opposition. This period is now coming to an end. A new hegemonic bloc combining the defence of life, democracy and independence is bringing together people who historically found themselves on opposing sides.
But on the other, here is Kostis Karpozilos:
These tendencies reveal deep transformations of Greek society, including the shift of the public agenda to the conservative Right. In contrast with what many believe, Greece is not facing the prospect of imminent social revolution from the left. To the contrary, we have seen a constant and often subtle shift toward conservative solutions. A few weeks ago the coalition government announced a plan for camps where thousands of undocumented immigrants would be confined; this measure appeared as the sole solution to a controversial social issue, and was met with widespread applause. The two ruling parties, PASOK and New Democracy, constantly target the social state, or what is left of it, and demonize central values of the post-junta democracy. They both attack the “extreme” Left, calling it “dangerous” and threatening to the stability of the state, in rhetoric that echoes a time when political activity was criminalized.

The recent strengthening of the fragmented Greek Left appears more fragile in this light. Even though it is anticipated that the various radical left parties will exceed 20 percent of the popular vote, their temporary success cannot disguise their inherent vulnerability: the lack of a persuasive alternative program. They have been unable to transform their anti-austerity slogans into a coherent plan for the “day after.”
Wishful thinking?  Undue pessimism? Or just the contradictions and uncertainties thrown up by the politics of austerity?

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