Moments of the political strategy of the 'Third Memorandum' government of Greece
The article below summarizes important points that describe the current Greek government’s political strategy that is supported by the EU and the ‘Troika’. There is a lot of discussion lately on the erosion of liberal democracy in Greece, a country whose democracy, even in its bourgeois version, was always limited, despite the propaganda suggesting the opposite. The current coalition governement has shifted towards extreme right social agendas, along with extreme neoliberal economic ones, in order to curb resistances in the country.
A fascist capitalism may be thus rising in Greece, within the ‘crisis-context’, so that austerity can pass and capitalism can find its post-crisis model of function. The current government, led by the ultra-conservative Antonis Samaras, has placed neo-fascists -such as the notorious Makis Voridis, a former associate of Jean Marie Le Pen, or Adonis Georgiadis a TV persona, sellers and publisher of conspiracy theories and Holocaust negation books, among others – in key ministerial positions, allowing them extended presence in the public expression of the government’s positions. Besides the advance of ‘primary accumulation’ strategies in the country that are composed of measurements meant to devaluate labor, land, raw materials and products, or the ongoing attempts to privatize -at all costs- all the public wealth of the country, the Greek government is also turning a blind eye to the nazis of the ‘golden dawn’ (sic) scum, police brutality and the deepening of the country’s political divisions and polarization. Signs of social cannibalism are slowly appearing again since the country’s Civil war during the 1940’s.
The particular analysis that the article below offers is important in order to see where the neoliberal Europe is going and what the socio-political trajectories in other European societies may be in the near future.
Article by Andreas Karitzis (http://www.rednotebook.gr/details.php?id=8890) free translation by CrisisMirror members
The ‘third memorandum’, coalition government of Greece that Samaras is currently leading, exercises a political assault against citizens and their rights with a great intensity at all possible levels. Unlike the previous two ‘memorandum governments’ since 2010, which founded themselves on the robust socio-political correlations of power that were firmly established during the extensive period of the country’s rule by the two leading parties (the Conservatives -Nea Dimokratia- and the Social Democrats -Pasok), the third memorandum government unfolds a systematic effort to re-arrange social and political power associations in a way favourable to the interests it represents.
The previous social correlations of political power in the country, relating to the hegemony of two-parties in the vast majority of society, the Conservatives (Nea Dimokratia) and the ‘Socialists’ (PASOK), has shrunk decisively after the implementation of austerity policies that harm great parts of the Greek society. Austerity has constituted the Left into a real danger to the interests that the particular parties (still in government) defend.
The social reconstruction that the current government is attempting to do based on the doctrines imposed by the memorandums organized by the Troika, concerns a combination of political options based a) on the traditions of the political Right in the country, b) the exercise of methods of biopolitical control and population discipline c) restrictions / guidelines set by the neoliberal political and economic elites in the Eurozone and the sovereign and strategic choices they make to secure the future of European capitalism and its position in global economic antagonisms.
Let us look at the particular points more closely:
a) The tradition of the political Right in the country: one can only think of the Right’s anti-rational approach to social problems, the Right’s anti-parliamentarism, its hatred to democracy -which supposedly “corrupts” the ‘national body’ – the Right’s deep contempt of the rule of law, or the glorification of state violence and the violence that is performed by supposed “nationalists”. These are fundamental characteristics that have formed the political Right in Greece at the turn of the last century and set up its course.
At a given historical point, the Right was forced to shift its position to issues related to the respect for democracy and the rule of law, as well as to abandon/repudiate state and paramilitary violence as the main instruments of policy enforcement. After the Colonels’ dictatorship, the Right was also forced to accept the concept of social and political rights for the working classes. Such a shift that required a standard minimum respect to democracy, law and basic rights of the people, was imposed on the political Right by social and political struggles of the broad Left. In this sense, the defenders of the current government’s extreme right turn are right (yet for other reasons than those they believe) when they denounce the (supposed) ‘ideological hegemony of the Left’ in Greece since 1974: the relative hegemony of the ideas of the Left, even in their bourgeois form, forced the political Right to respect democracy (although the Right along with the ‘social democratic’ PASOK corrupted the particular ideas, managing to connect the majority of the people to the party mechanism of the two main rival parties in power in exchange for material returns, as well as to spread consumerist culture and market logics to the Greek society).
b) Methods of discipline and control: the “shock and awe” strategy that the crisis-politics deploy, is indicative to this respect. The attack on all fronts with great intensity, the demonstration of brute force, the avoidance of taking any step back in state policies despite all costs, the generalization of repression, the arbitrariness of police violence aided by the police’s fascist affiliations, and finally the vulgar treatment of political opponents and all those resisting, with a Goebbelian type of fire-barrage that is aimed against the general population, are things that are not made in order to achieve a financial goal or to “save” the country, but to discipline its population.
The fact that the government does not withdraw extreme measures that have zero effect (through a policy which does not achieve any stated objective but instead destroys), which affect every sense of decency in society is a method of disciplining the population. State violence, the destruction of the rule of law, the freedom of criminals to operate undisturbed, in conjunction with an expanded production of a virtual reality that produces internal enemies, create a frame of social and individual behavior that constitutes the struggle for basic rights as a very risky affair .
There are already existing very strong authoritarian, capitalist formations where a reaction to -for instance- environmental degradation, or a protest for work conditions and wages, might literaly lead one to the bottom of a river, without any hope for the punishing of the guilty by justice or the police.
c) A leading European strategy: in the form of a title we could call “market absolutism” the act of exclusion of the majority of the people from decision-making procedures, the hardening of everyday life or the degradation and full compliance of all aspects of social functioning with the requirements of market logic and competition.
It’s interesting that the complex of these parameters forms a contemporary passage to a reality very close to the “average” social organization of the 19th century, through a vicious and violent restructuring of the terms organizing social and individual life. It is from this cluster that a series of options rise, one of which is called ‘strategy of tension’, which attempts to divide the majority of the people (by elevating antisocial attitudes, violence, or by spreading irrational social narrative and explanations of the state of affairs, who is to blame etc.) and in this way to form a favorable correlation (or at least halt the decay) for the existing coalition of power, with the new realities that the ‘crisis’ brought to the Greek society.
be In order to design a rival, counter-hegemonic majority and a popular Leftist strategy, one should adopt an analytical framework that takes into account the strategic and historical depth of authority’s choices and actions. Movements and analyses that fail to consider the broader socio-political context and persist in readings of reality on the basis of the former political and social balance that developed right after the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, are doomed to fail.