REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY IN GREECE: FIT FOR PURPOSE?
THE RISE OF FASCISM
I am a European citizen, who came to live in
Greece in 2006.
I want to argue that the rise of the Fascist movement in Greece has been directly associated with the bankruptcy of the Greek Government, the economic collapse of industry, and the imposition of austerity.
During the time that I have lived in
Greece, it has been in a state of humiliation: a ‘bankrupt’ appealing for bailouts to enable the Treasury to confront its debts, and to organize itself to become solvent. And yet at the same time rejecting the help offered as unnecessary interference! leading to civil disorder.
Its creditors, the so-called Troika [the EU, the IMF, the World Bank] have insisted on the adoption of austerity measures and the severe reduction of spending, and costs.
As a result of spending cuts, many workers have lost their jobs. Civil servants have not only lost their jobs, they have lost their privileges. Anyone who still has a job has to come to terms with lower wages and no pensions.
During this time, the privileged elites [the rich and millionaires] have been able to freely move their monies from one investment centre to another so as to protect their wealth and to maximize their profits. They have been actively avoiding paying tax by placing their money in tax havens. They have been the direct targets of the Troika, who are determined to increase tax income for the Greek government and the EU.
During this time, these privileged elites have pursued campaigns against the EU, the IMF, and the World Bank. They have been concerned to emphasise the viability of Greek entrepreneurs, and the superiority of the Greek culure. Economic collapse has prompted political nationalism.
In a society in which the government has failed, and gone bankrupt, several times, and been subject to constant criticism and ridicule by the Germans, and French, Spanish, Italians, these campaigns have led to the emergence of Fascism against the Socialists, and anti-German attitudes. The collapse of employment and the rise of unemployment within many Greek communities has given rise to anti-immigration politics and racist actions against any ‘foreigners’.
The development of fascism in
Greece is directly linked to the imposition of austerity and the punishment of the bankrupts! It has been further emphasized by the necessity for the coalition ‘to do as they have been told’! if they want to be given the bailout loans.
In the last few days, the ruling coalition has moved against, and arrested the MPs of the new Fascist Party, Golden Dawn.
Their actions raise a number of issues concerning the nature of democracy in
If one is living in a society ruled according to a legal framework in which anyone and any group is free to stand for Parliament, and say what they want, and do what they wish, then it is to be expected, even acceptable, that Nazis/fascists/communists/racists/anti-equalitarian/ anti-homosexuals and any extreme group will be voted to Parliament. It would be normal for such groups as ‘Golden Dawn’, a nazi/fascist group to have representation.
Greece is not that sort of Democracy. It is a constituent member of the European Community, the European Union.
The EU has set up a legal framework in which right-wing and left -wing groups are formally illegal, and any support for the Nazis, the purveyors of hatred and war, is prohibited. Expressions of Nazi ideas were prohibited in Europe following the defeat of the German Nazis after 1945, and the persecution of the Jews, Romanis, Slavs in the Holocaust [1933-1945]. Any political group must not express Nazi ideas-even though they are known to support National Socialism. It is to be expected that the 'Golden Dawn' will deny being a Nazi party - even though all their policies are Nazi!
The ‘Golden Dawn’ party should not have come into existence. However……..
It came into existence…….. in the wake of the bankruptcy of the country; the imposition of austerity by the EU led by the Germans, French, Italians, Spanish.; the humiliation of the peoples of
Greece through debt, and unemployment.
On reflection, it has become clear that the governments of the day [2005 -2013] did not feel confident to rule a country through economic collapse in the face of the opposition of political nationalism. On the other hand, by a twist of fate, the governments have managed the economic collapse by organizing the support of political nationalism by means of the help of the Golden Dawn, a Nazi party. The Golden Dawn was supposed to be part of the solution but have become the problem! when that party refused to cooperate, and started to attack and murder its opposition, openly declaring its criminal intentions.
The ways in which the coalition governments have incorporated the fascists into the government, leads us to ask whether the coalition governments of
Greece are fit for purpose? In operating a democratic government by promoting right wing fascism has threatened the very basis of representative democracy.
The next steps it has taken has challenged the whole concept of voter representation. The present government has arrested and imprisoned fascist MPs. In this way it has re-structured the House of Representatives and returned to the days of the Junta when MPs were voted for by the electorate, and then further selected by military forces.
If the coalition government had ruled according to democracy then the rights of citizens would have been upheld and extreme repressive groups kept out of Parliament The fascists would not be allowed to form political parties. Even now, in their attempts to remove extremist politics, by arresting MPs, the coalition has resorted to anti-democratic actions and called into question their ‘fitness to rule’.
In a democracy the arbiters of power are the voters, not the voted.
But we have to confront the ‘catch 22’ situation that is operating in Greece at the moment whereby anti-democratic groups are well organized to gain democratic power and challenge the coalition government, and render the country bankrupt, If the coalition called an election now it may have to confront more rigid austerity, and more street violence!
The coalition government has to work to resolve the financial future of
Greece without sacrificing the people to the demands of creditors.
Alternative economics is essential for a viable future.