Thursday 17 January 2013

The blame game

The attack using Kalashnikoff rifles on the Athens New Democracy offices is part of a package of escalating violence in the capital in the last few days. There was a spate of makeshift bomb attacks against journalists and political figures last week as well as against three regional offices of New Democracy.

What is odd about this situation, is that although all parties immediately condemned the attack, chaos ruled in Parliament on Monday night as each group started attacking the others and apportioning blame.
The blame game is big in Greek politics at the moment. Nothing is happening, nothing is being done, 'nothing is moving' as people say to me every day. So, the political elite start blaming others to hide, to camouflage the fact that nothing is going on, that they are unable and unwilling to govern. The so-called Lagarde list is a case in point. The politicians are all blaming each other for the fact that the list, unlike what happened in all other European countries, was kept in a drawer instead of the people who have accounts in Switzerland being investigated and prosecuted if wrong-doing was discovered. They are still not investigating the list. They are just blaming each other. But, more about this in a future post.
The blame game in this instance is about the escalating violence and the sacrificial lamb is SY.RIZ.A who were blamed for the whole issue of the violent invasion of the squats and the subsequent evictions. Squatting is an established phenomenon throughout the world and in some countries like in Denmark squats are an established institution, Christiana being a case in point. Although squatting is not viewed favourably by the authorities, there are very few countries that send in riot police with batons and tear gas to evict squatters. Greece unfortunately is one of them.

The makeshift bomb attacks on the five journalists; on the three regional offices of New Democracy; on the house of Mr Kedikoglou - all blamed on Syriza. It is a continuous soap opera that is making me sick and tired of watching the news or reading the papers which constantly comment that: 'Syriza tacitly backs anti-establishment groups and their attacks'. 'Syriza is creating an atmosphere of civil war'. 'Syriza is politically responsible for these attacks'. 'Syriza is flirting with violence'. And on and on and on....
Unable to govern, unable to pursue any policies, with no vision or any kind of ideology except that of opportunism, cronyism and self-interest, the coalition government has to somehow justify its existence. What better way of doing that than conjuring the bogey of the opposition to create fear and to thus discredit the party that opinion polls show the majority of the Greek people support?

Manolis Glezos, the resistance hero who, together with a friend, climbed the Acropolis in the dead of night, took down the German/Nazi flag and replaced it with the Greek one and who is now an MP for Syriza said in Parliament on Monday: 'the Left has nothing to gain from this attack on the ND offices'. It is generally agreed that the people who have the most to gain are the Government and New Democracy in particular. The talk on the streets, the cafes, amongst groups of people is that it is the Parakratos that has created this spate of violence. (Parakratos: I do not know if a word for this exists in English. It describes a group or groups of people who work alongside the state in a clandestine and often violent way , with the support of sections of the state, but against society. It is a Greek phenomenon that grew and developed after the Greek Civil War and is said to be responsible for the murder of certain political figures - for an example, read the novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos, or watch the film by Costa Gavras).

These views are shared by Syriza that maintains that there are parakratos forces in action which are beyond anyone's control but whose aim is to support New Democracy and the right. Their aim according to Syriza is many fold: to confuse, destabilize public opinion and scare people into accepting the status quo; to put the blame on Syriza and consequently to discredit it in the face of the voters; and to finally discredit any opposition to the government's policies. Finally, Syriza points to instances of parakratos activities of the past which had nothing to do with the Left.

Conspiracy theories? Maybe. The fact remains that a new deal with the Troika was signed on that same day and hardly anything was mentioned about it in the press because the big story was the attack on the ND offices. This new deal with the Troika guarantees the imposition of new labour law changes; deregulates certain economic sectors; gives private sector employers the freedom to dismiss staff; plus an amendment to Greece's loan deal. Syriza maintains that all these deals surrender the country's right to protect its assets.

  • Kathimerini
  • Eleutherotipia
  • The Guardian
  • BBC news
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