Greece is facing the most significant choice of its recent history at the darkest moment of the crisis. The choice is between complete capitulation to the demands of its creditors (led by Germany) or Grexit.
Capitulation will usher a new “κατοχή”, an era of indefinite economic occupation and a humiliating loss of sovereignty. Grexit will mean economic devastation for the medium term, the sacrifice of a generation, the loss of modernity and Greece’s European identity. The choice is inevitable, but how to make it?
Syriza lacks legitimacy to choose. It has a dual mandate, to reverse austerity and to keep Greece in the euro. In this, it has failed. There is no point pretending that it hasn’t. The fault lies more with Merkel than with Tsipras or Varoufakis, but here we are.
Should the choice be put to a referendum? I think not, as there is no way to structure a question that does justice to the gravity of the issue. Moreover, an in-out of the euro question is meaningless as the vast majority of Greeks still consider participation synonymous with Greece as modern European state.
The only other option is to hold a new election where candidates will not campaign along party lines, but on their allegiance or not to the euro, with everything this entails. A likely win for the pro-euro block will result in a coalition government that will implement domestically the diktats of creditor technocrats. It will be a junta of sorts, but a selection that the people have made for themselves.
No coalition in the existing parliament has the legitimacy to implement an ‘orthodox’ programme. Also there are not enough anti euro forces currently elected to legitimise Grexit.
What would I choose? Even though I agree with Lapavitsas that the country’s growth prospects are better outside the euro, and believe that Varoufakis and Tsakalotos have failed in their project of European reform, I do not think that the country will survive the shock of Grexit. During the crisis a lot has changed, but also a lot remains the same. This will not be so post Grexit, and the political establishment (syriza included) is not robust enough to guide the country through a return to the Drachma.
I would vote for Euro till Greece is strong enough to overturn the technocratic junta, but have no illusions: the European dream is dead and Germany is the assassin.