by Stathis Gourgouris, for Greek Left Review
The majority of Greeks voted for governmentability this time, as opposed to registering a mere protest vote as in the May 6 elections. This manifestation was motivated by two contrary sentiments, fear of change and desire for change, which correspond to votes going to New Democracy and SYRIZA respectively.
The new government to be formed will involve collaboration between two nominally vicious opponents of the past, who have been, however, complicit in the degradation of the Greek political system in the last 30 years. Their current collaboration confirms their long term mutual complicity and renders their previous opposition a mere brawl over spoils. In this respect, there has never been greater political clarity as to the primary self-interest of the Greek political elite.
But this new government will represent an electorate that has registered its trust motivated by fear. Such politics can never sustain itself in the long run, especially as the new ND-PASOK government is bound to distinguish itself by even greater capitulation to the interests of financial capital and European bureaucratic elites. The very same people who voted for this sort of political formation (a minority position overall) will quickly turn against their rulers in various manifestations of social unrest. How this social unrest will translate into a different political order is one of the key wagers of Greece’s future.
On the other hand, SYRIZA collected unprecedented popular support. It is evident that voters who supported SYRIZA are no longer motivated by mere opposition to the old political order. Rather, they registered their conviction that SYRIZA is a probable (and indeed desirable) governing force. There is a stunning statistic that shows SYRIZA an overwhelming victor among the ages of 55 years and below, while the population of over 55 years old went to ND. The desire for change and the commitment to change belongs to Greece’s future, while the fear-driven, literally conservative, sentiment that brought ND to power is a force of years past. While not knowing exactly how this will play out, this generational discrepancy must not be underestimated.
By Yanis Varoufakis, originally posted at YanisVaroufakis.eu 18 Jun
Greek voters gave their contradictory verdict: While 55% voted for parties that stood explicitly against the ‘bailout’ terms and conditions, a pro-’bailout’ government is about to be formed – such is the nature of Greece’s electoral system (which rewards the largest party with a bonus of 50 additional MPs in the 300 seat chamber). The New Democracy party will lead the government even though it is utterly clear that at least one in three of the voters who backed it think very little of the party and its leader but felt they had no option but to vote for them simple because the alternative, a Syriza government, might bring upon the nation the combined wrath of Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels. This is as inauspicious a beginning for a new government with a mountain range of challenges as one could have imagined. Read the rest of this entry »