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First round of elections, Greece 2023
There’s been an election here.
The results were SYRIZA electorally smashed. Partly by a resurgent right and far right, but it’s been far too convenient for to blame that alone. There’s been a whole lot more voters in no mood to give SYRIZA a third chance; and the memories of 2015–2019 are raw enough, that people fled to the also resurgent, and familiar, brand of PASOK—whose own failings of 1981–2010 have now receded into the past enough to be forgotten, if not forgiven.
None of the four front-runners were convincing: the Tories were bland and polished, SYRIZA were in permanent opposition mode, PASOK were blaming both left and right to a comical degree, and the Communists are still waiting for the Revolution. The Greek people had to vote for someone, with little enthusiasm; and a lot more voted against SYRIZA than anyone, left or right, expected.
There are several SYRIZA supporters that I follow on Facebook. I commend Nikos Sarantakos for his sober assessment, and his readiness to concede strategic failure. I am often at odds with both his politics and his fervour, but on this occasion, he gave an account that honours him.
(His main analysis: SYRIZA, unlike both PASOK and the Communist Party, is stuck in 3% of the electorate mode, and did not develop the level of party machinery that a 40% of the electorate party needs to function. Something which I, less, charitably, have called amateurishness in my time.)
Of the others that I follow here, it is entirely fair to say that many went apeshit. Saying that to vote Tory was to vote for New World Order puppets, with the blood of the Tempe rail disaster dripping from their hands. (As if Minister Spirtzis revolutionised Greek Rail during his tenure in the previous government.) Wishing all the catastrophes they could on the Greek people that did not reelect them.
It got far more toxic, of course, on Twitter, with good leftists, good servants of The People, wishing the rest of Euboea burnt to a crisp (“NOT A SPRIG OF CAMOMILE LEFT”), and pledging allegiance to Erdoğan, should he choose to invade as divine retribution for our sins.
(They said that about Mehmed II, as well.)
An average day in contemporary US politics, in other words; but not the kind of thing I’m used to in this country. This country’s civil war was meant to be exorcised by now. The apathy of the Greek people around the election was proof that they now know better, finally wise to the impracticalities of demagoguery, after a devastating confrontation with their limits in the 2010s.
And for that matter, the lack of celebration from the Right shows that they are just as human, and as aware of the impasse the country is in, and take no joy in having to pick the New Democracy party. And not, as a friend suggested, that they’re merely malingering, ready to be unleashed at the bidding of their masters (like so many fiends, as opposed to 40% of your fellow citizens).
Those friends are starting to settle down into more constructive commentary, I see. But as people also have pointed out, its how you deal with life’s downs that shows your true character, not life’s ups. And too many of those who exult in the superior morality of the progressive appear to have taken Brecht’s Lösung as a manual, not a parody.
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed on the Stalinallee
Which stated that the people
Had squandered the confidence of the government
And could only win it back
By redoubled work [quotas]. Would it not in that case
Be simpler for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
The people are not all-wise, despite the mythology of the Greek left proclaiming so (for selective values of who counts as “the people”). But you don’t get to “dissolve the people and elect another”. At least not in a democracy. (You do in a dictatorship of the proletariat, literally, but let’s not go there.)
They voted against you? They voted against you. That’s not your cue to do more of the same, ever more eternal struggle. That’s the cue for you to take your lumps, work out what YOU did wrong, and do better next time. Your business is winning elections, not sainthoods.
Although doing more of the same certainly feels more satisfying…