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Issue #1704      September 30, 2015

The lesser of two evils

Greek voters angry, disillusioned

The results of the snap elections in Greece, held on Sunday September 20, 2015, confirmed what had become obvious during the short pre-election period that the people being tired, dissatisfied, confused and disillusioned opted for “the lesser of the two evils”.

What had transpired since the last elections, in January this year, was an initial general public euphoria based on the false hope and expectation that the then new SYRIZA government would change the intolerable situation in the country that had existed for the last five years. It was hoped that some of the acute problems would be alleviated by taking measures to satisfy some of the demands of the popular masses.

One of the major demands by the people was to do away with the tight grip on the country’s economy by the creditors and the European Union institutions. Instead of that however, the economic controls and demands by the EU and the IMF became more suffocating, pensions and wages levels were not restored, as promised, further cuts were initiated and unemployment levels reached unprecedented heights.

The accumulated anger led the people to reject the new agreement offered by the creditors with a resounding NO in the referendum organised by the government last July.

What followed the referendum was almost beyond description. Instead of the government honouring the people’s will and rejecting the new agreement (memorandum) it completely capitulated to the demands of the leading EU forces and signed a new memorandum, much worse than the previous two.

The Greek people saw their hopes and expectations disappear fast and became frustrated, disillusioned and confused. SYRIZA was promising the people that their left government would change things. All of a sudden people realised that not even a left government can bring about a change.

This concept of hopelessness was a major factor in alienating a high percentage of people from the election process and in shaping the election result. Hopelessness and the fear that the others might be worse, determined the outcome of the elections that returned SYRIZA to government with 35 percent of the votes and 145 members of Parliament. It will be a coalition government again with the Independent Greeks who managed to elect 10 members.

In the atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion the neo-fascist Golden Down managed to poll 7% and will now be the third party in parliamentary strength. PASOK, which contested the elections in coalition of the Democratic Left and some other groupings, managed only 6%, confirming the prevailing view that this party which ruled Greece for 25 years has been politically annihilated.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) scored 5.6% of the votes the same as in the January elections and had the same number of deputies elected (15).

These elections demonstrated an alarming fact which will no doubt adversely affect the political developments in the near future. The fact that SYRIZA, masquerading as a left force, has done the greatest disservice to the working class movement for progressive change by conditioning people’s minds that there is no alternative, that they are all the same, that there is no way of getting rid of capitalism and its barbarity.

This negative frame of mind is now the most serious problem the working class movement in Greece faces; that the KKE and all other class oriented forces have to struggle against and defeat. The sooner this poisonous trend is overcome, the sooner the working class movement is free of illusions and does not seek salvation by means of a “more efficient management” of capitalism, the sooner the mass struggles of workers will be developed and strengthened and challenge the power of capitalist domination, in favour of a socialist society.

For this to happen however, parliamentary processes are not enough. For the working class movement to acquire the determination to seriously challenge the ruling class it must participate in daily struggles in places of work, in the localities, in schools and universities, to face the forces of oppression, to put forward advanced demands for a life worth living.

Only through the road of determined mass struggle will the workers be fully emancipated and acquire the level of social consciousness that will prevent their systematic brain washing and stop the neutralisation of their collective power.

This of course is not an easy process, but is the only way forward to a brighter future for the Greek people and indeed for any people in the world.

Next article – Region Briefs

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