Every country has an establishment. Future historians will write about how a group of young leftist activists managed to pull out the teeth of a large portion of Greece’s middle-class establishment. They had audacity and the support of a society which had reached its limits. But that’s not all. The Greek establishment proved to be small and weak and had been digging its own grave for a while. The gospel of extreme populism, of justifying every extreme act of protest and so on, was preached on a daily basis from its own TV channels. Today’s dominating political talk grew and was celebrated on private television. The excuse was simple: “This is what sells and what people want.” You made your own bed so now you can lie in it, as they say.
The so-called establishment rushed to make behind-the-scenes deals from 2012 onward. Everyone had their own reasons. There were those who didn’t want their dirty laundry aired in public. Others wanted to take revenge on Athenian high society after having felt like an outcast in the past. Some followed the old mantra of late businessman Prodromos Bodosakis, who argued that you always had to be on the government’s good side. Few of these agreements were actually kept. Anyone with even a basic knowledge of history knows that false friendships never last long.
A portion of Greece’s establishment is already rotten. The crisis dealt it the final blow, but it was hanging by a thread well before that. Exaggeration, the lack of business management rules and a disrespect of institutions had led to a Greek-version of the Wild West.
The newcomers, however, found invaluable support in a portion of the bourgeois political world, which for its own reasons offered know-how for governing the tough state machine. They also played their part.
Now the landscape’s changed, with the power and money being shared out all over again. Greece goes through similar phases every 30 to 40 years and a new round was unavoidable given the 2009 crisis.
So will all of this bring about a healthier establishment? I’m afraid that even those now in power might one day miss the old one, the tested system of vested interests which at least was predictable and had a couple of its own rules. The nouveau-riche Wild West of 2000 could well turn into a real one. The group of leftist activists who brought down a part of the establishment and now wish to create their own will soon get a taste of it.
The question is whatever happened to the country’s nongovernment-funded, dynamic, healthy establishment? Some have left, while others are lying low. But if they don’t play their part the country will pass into the hands of pirates, zealous judicial officials with peculiar agendas, all kinds of gangs and the process of the country’s Ukranization will begin very quickly. Bulwarks are needed, even within the leftist ranks, to avoid such a fatal eventuality.