Where the coalition government is leading Greece
CHRISTOS LOUTRADISOne of the leading pre-election slogans of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was “for the first time left.” Tsipras was trying to persuade the austerity-stricken Greek society that the governance of his political party, Syriza, will symbolize the demolishment of a conservative and neo-liberal status quo which was leading Greece for decades.
However, the reality was different. The current prime minister’s decision to form a government with the populist leader of the “Independent Greeks,” and now Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, was a concrete and direct signal his political orientation was not for a “for the first time left” in power but rather formulating a government which will cultivate the nationalistic senses of the deprived Greek society. It was a clear ideological choice. For the first time in decades the nationalistic discourse which owes part of its existence to the masses has a central ideological and practical role in government.
The cornerstone of this political marketing was the changes Kammenos introduced in the celebrations of Greece National Day on March 25.
For the first time the defense minister organized a fiesta of folk dancing with the participation of an association of folk dancers from around Greece with music provided by the Greek Army after the end of the military parade. The fiesta took place in the main square of Athens, Syntagma. The democratic sensitivity of many members of the political system was irritated. The most interesting aspect of this political marriage is none of the main actors, Tsipras or Kammenos, seem to be seeking a way out from a government does not have an ideological stigma but rather a nationalistic and populist discourse which is being used a weapon of “negotiation” with its European partners with no great success.
It is an easy story for the masses. The bad Germans together with the other Europeans want to conquer Greece via an economical war which has been taking place for years. The victimization of a society which has learned to accuse but not to produce is good for Tsipras in the short-term, as nobody is dealing with the government’s inability to produce a new deal for the next day. But it is also disastrous for the future of the country, not only because nobody is discussing the real reasons of Greece’s social crisis but mainly because nobody wants to do anything to overcome the crisis.
But time runs out and Tsipras has to decide how he wants to govern; with folk dancers leading to an isolated nation with no allies on the world spectrum or a European nation with a concrete plan for an inclusive European-friendly country with strong voice?