Despite what analysts say, politics is basically a spectacle in which the central player garners the support of the public that ensures the survival of the leadership on the political stage and rallies that critical mass that can ultimately propel him to power.
Right now, the audience is busy watching a parody of a drama in which PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos is at loggerheads with leftist SYRIZA over the Lagarde list scandal. The head of the Socialists argues that SYRIZA is nothing more than a political paradox which rose to prominence as a result of two general elections, and appears to believe that the leftist party is plotting to bring down the political system, destroy the country and do other such nefarious things.
I could not pretend to justify the politics of SYRIZA and of its leader, Alexis Tsipras. The average conservative citizen has had to face similar conundrums in the past and tends to view them as manifestations of a sickness that has hit the political system, dealing with them in pragmatic rather than emotional terms.
In its early days, PASOK was a lot more violent and was brimming with more fervor to upend the system and bring radical change than SYRIZA – which could be seen as PASOK’s modern-day reincarnation.
The issue, however, is viewed very differently by the various members of the “leftist family.” For PASOK, which has adopted a much more middle-class softness over the past few years, as well as for a large part of the left, SYRIZA is like a nightmarish revival of the image they have of their own youth; of their own violent, arbitrary, subversive and arrogant behavior. This is what they are up against because it is this face from the past that scares them – and rightly so. The problem for this particular section of society is mainly psychological and is mitigated by its efforts to reconcile its bourgeois transformation with its “progressive” past.
The Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn also demanded that Venizelos, as well as former Prime Minister George Papandreou, appear before a parliamentary committee investigating the handling of the Lagarde list, but the PASOK chief is little interested in the reactions of these two ultra-right parties. Sure, Venizelos has the right to choose whichever direction he believes to be the best, but his current stance may very well play into SYRIZA’s hands and bolster support for the leftists.
Panic is never the right state of mind in which to make important decisions, and the conservatives are well aware of this following several unsuccessful battles in the past to take on PASOK in its early days.