Nikos Fotopoulos, the former head of the Public Power Corporation workers’ union (GENOP) and a member of the PPC board of directors, recently accused those who criticized a new set of bonuses resulting from a three-year collective contract signed by the electricity company of hypocrisy. “To those of you who don’t like this: tough!” Fotopoulos noted. The daily sum of 6 euros (the move was interpreted as a kind of “social provision for a sandwich and a cup of coffee”) is destined to the company’s 18,000 employees at the cost of 33 million euros annually.
So, “tough” it is. The same thought must have crossed the minds of those who covered the facade of the National Technical University of Athens located on Stournari and Patission streets with graffiti this week. They were, after all, safeguarding their right to freedom of expression. This kind of act is also defined as “artistic intervention,” in the same way that a salary raise is dubbed a “social provision.” Speaking to Kathimerini yesterday, NTUA rector Ioannis Golias noted that the act showed “a lack of good manners and culture, given that this is a monument,” yet he refrained from condemning it as an act of vandalism as he did not wish to “get into this kind of logic.” Even if Golias had wanted to sound harsher in his comments he probably wouldn’t be able to, given that the possibility of being abused by protesting students on the university’s premises hangs over him as a general kind of threat.
If showing contempt for institutions and institutional operations is one of the defining elements of populism, where does contempt for society stand? Surely this is one of the most obvious examples of the kind of unchanged, bankrupt Greece that still reign supreme with the left at the country’s helm.
With unionists, failed deputies, party members and relatives of high-ranking officials high on the list of candidates for the positions of general secretaries at ministries, the system of party dominance as observed in the 1980s is being continued under the leftist flag.
This old-style regime, which ruled the country for decades with disastrous results, is now being enriched with fresh blood and reinforced right in front of us with audacity and selfishness. While the abovementioned examples are indicative, they are also significant, because if in cases of reaction the answer is “Tough,” then as a society and a state we will have to go back to square one, only this time we will have to do so alone, without allies.