Dr. Vassiliki N. Koutrakou reflects on the rise of Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA in Greece.
As with Andreas Papandreou (socialist PASOK) and his band of thieves in the 1980s, and their many years of looting and plundering massively Greece’s – and Europe’s – wealth, closely followed by the right-wing governments they alternated with, to wind up with incalculable riches and continuing impunity, a reincarnated version, Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA, just as youthful and vibrant, has just won the ultimate good – governing power – in the latest Greek elections, trading in identical empty notions like ‘change’ and ‘hope’, and seductive good looks, and zero plan of action, zero job experience, and zero sense of responsibility. It may be too much to expect voters to learn the lessons of the history they superficially purport to be so proud of. Ironically, the new rise in the far left is only matched by the rise of the ultra right-wing, in the form of the anti-European, anti-immigrant ‘Independent Greeks’ and the fascist-racist ‘Golden Dawn’, the former – insanely – joining the communists in forming the new government. The casualties are, as usual, the sensible, moderate, responsible centrists, always a negligible minority in the naïve, or rather lunatic, perpetuation of polarisation among demagogues. Thankfully, Europe will overcome and survive the shockwaves of this latest storm, and may even still renege to granting compromises that rescue Greece too, eventually. Will Britain be next in succumbing to the inflammatory rhetoric of similarly dangerous, sinister clowns like Nigel Farage, granting them power, or hold over the balance of power, while the sense, reason and moderation of the centre shrinks to extinction? Quite likely, sadly.
Well, the saving grace is that there are 193 countries in the United Nations, so the potential for migration is always open for hard-working young and old with skills, ambition and intelligence, because, as Thucydides says: “ἀνδρῶν γὰρ ἐπιφανῶν πᾶσα γῆ τάφος” (for outstanding people, the whole earth is as much a grave) . Pericles’ Funeral Oration from Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 2.43.1
Dr. Vassiliki N. Koutrakou is the Director of CREST (Centre for Research in European Studies) at the University of East Anglia.
Image credit: Propsect