I spent a lifetime thinking that I should belong somewhere, that I should align myself with some ideology, some belief.
The left, indeed it’s radical expression seemed a suitable place to begin an exploration of the political space. I attended Socialist Worker meetings shortly after joining Essex University in 1997. They looked typical, even to my young eyes. They dreamed of a better society. I asked them whether a nuclear apocalypse would actually be a good starting point for a societal redrafting. They said yes, I never went back.
In 1999 I was visiting Athens Law School. Leftists galore. I had a KNE friend (communist party youth). She did things because the party said to. I also had a DAP (New Democracy Youth) girlfriend. She did things so that the party would get her a job. I stopped seeing both.
Years after I was researching for my PhD under the supervision of a Marxist critical theorist. I am eternally grateful to him for keeping me safe from Foucault. Marxism is one thing, meta-ethics quite another. I was looking into Russian legal transformations in post-communism. I wrote a critique of neoliberalism. Surely that pigeonholes me as a leftist intellectual?
After finishing the PhD I got a job (at a uni of course) and met some German guy in a pub who accused me of hypocrisy. I was writing lefty things, yet I lived a bourgeois lifestyle. I struggled to reconcile my fiery anti-neoliberal rhetoric with my wealthy lifestyle (turns out one job at the uni cannot make you rich, but 3 simultaneously create at least the appearance of wealth).
I came to this. I do not write lefty things from the perspective of a fictional proletarian. I argue against an unsustainable, vicious and inhumane capitalism because I do not want things to end badly for the proletariat and my own privileged offspring. I want a nicer pragmatic and sustainable capitalism. I ended up at the rational shore of lefty pretence: social democracy.
Who can best express the desire for a better, more equal society that is still wealthy and prosperous? I thought Syriza was the means to the end of a better deal with Europe in January 2015. I was wrong.
In the intellectual war of the referendum in the summer of 2015 I felt compelled to choose a side. I chose NAI and I am now forever separated from those who ‘officially’ express the left in Greece.
If I am a critical social democrat who cares about the life of Greeks now and the future of my country, who should I support?
I am not sure who I should vote for on September 20, but I know who I would not support. Not Mr Tsipras who betrayed my trust and hope through stupidity, ignorance and incompetence. Not Mr Lafazanes and Madame Zoi who express the worst of lefty populism we have seen in a while. Not Mr Papandreou who despite his grand name would not be able to run a beach canteen. Not the fascists of ANEL, the Nazis of Golden Dawn. Not KKE in all its magnificent irrelevance. Not Mr Leventis, entertaining though he is. Not the fringe left in its ‘people’s front of judea’ infighting.