The year-long reign of Syriza in 2015 has changed everything in Greece’s political economy.
Normally we expect a continuum between theory and practice in parties of the left. Perhaps because parties of the (more radical) left seldom attain positions of power, it is easier to theorise and imagine a utopia of democratic engagement, accountability, justice and rights.
The experience of ‘left’ governance is something else altogether. Of course, you could argue that Syriza -since it started ‘governing’ after Varoufakis departed and the Herculean ‘negotiation’ came to an end- is not a party of the left. What it looks like in fact is a depraved PASOK with all the corrupt and clientistic practices that brought the country to the dire straights it is at the moment.
I disagree with the above (Syriza not being left). The ‘real’ left government is a little like the end of the rainbow, you imagine its there, but it really isn’t. There is no such thing as a real left government, because the very act of governance causes a rift between a theoretical perception of all things ‘left’ and practice. We arrive at the concusion therefore that Syriza is left, a radical type of left, and a horrible type of government.
Now that we sorted this out, lets think about the future of Greece in 2016. I have argued in previous posts that the Syriza-Anel is now such an abomination that it should not continue. There should be no cooperation from the opposition. If the current grand debate on pensions reform brings this monster down, then great.
Who could replace them you say? I agree this is a legitimate question, and I have struggled with it. Stuck with the lovey couple of Tsipras/Kammenos because we cannot visualise an alternative however is a little like staying with an abusive husband because we cannot envisage living alone. This is not a sensible strategy.
Could New Democracy rise from the ashes and offer a credible alternative? Let us think of this in Matrix terms: Do not try to change ND, imagine ND is not there. Do not try to think how the party could reform, imagine that the party has been completely replaced with something new. It can keep the name, the symbols and the members, but it needs to represent something new, gathering together not only the political centre (whatever that means in Greece), but acting as a focal point for a European focused resistance to the abomination of Syrizanel. ND would not offer us a ‘political’ alternative as such, but it may offer us a technically competent government that can govern within the rule of law and chart a path out of this mess. This is the best we can hope for at the moment. Out of the two contenders for leader of ND, who would be the best person to do this? For better or worse, I think this is Mitsotakis.
2016 will be Year Zero for Greece. Syriza will fall, the question is whether the new year will bring Grexit and disaster, or a path to recovery.