Crisis,Social Movements

The social attack against austerity: Notes on the 2012 Greek elections

1. The radicalisation of the Greek society exceeds all the formal social and political dynamics that have burst into the central political scene in the context of the two rounds of the Greek parliamentary elections (May 6 and June 17). The electoral results are overshadowed, in many respects, by the social forces and antagonisms that continue to push existing parliamentary politics to its limits.

The last gasp of the old political system was the attempt to strip off the electoral campaign from these antagonisms. The attempt has been ‘successful’, but only within the horizon of the short-term reduction of their electoral losses that seems impossible to sustain for much longer. In both elections, there was no political party campaigning with a pro-memorandum agenda (apart from some fringe neo-liberal parties (practically sponsored by media and corporate conglomerates) who didn’t even manage to reach the threshold of 3% of the votes in order to elect MPs. All the parties of the old establishment shifted towards a ‘re-negotiation of the memorandum’ platform that was supposed to neutralise the ‘politics of the nullification of the memorandum’ proposed by Syriza. The electoral dilemma was then set as one between ‘responsible multilateral negotiations’ with our European partners and a politics of unilateralism (that would automatically jeopardise Greece’s Euro membership according to the anti-Syriza bloc), but all within the framework of ‘the memorandum is not sustainable’ discourse. Along these lines, the ruling parties pursued a strategy of re-nationalisation, calling for national unity ‘to change the memorandum in the best we can’, and castigated Syriza for being the obstacle to the re-institution of this national unity. Συνέχεια