Pantelis Boukalas PANTELIS BOUKALAS

Two words, one slogan, half a truth

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TAGS: Politics

Party spin doctors have as much trouble coming up with a potent catchphrase for their regular gatherings or congresses as they have picking a compact and inspiring slogan for their election campaigns.

The thing is, all political buzzwords have lost their luster. Phrases such as “fighting for,” “resist,” or “turning the page” have been used so much that they have come to lose their original meaning. They no longer confer unique political identity. In fact, the same phraseology is mobilized by all Greek political parties across the spectrum. As a result, a comfortable and relatively safe (for originality entails risk) solution is sticking with the same words independent of time and context.

Last year, the 19th congress of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) was headlined by the following: “Strong KKE – Popular Alliance – The people in power – Socialism is necessary and timely.”

Although the slogans were slightly tweaked for this year’s edition, the 20th, the meaning was left intact.

“We reinforce KKE for a strong labor movement and social alliance for power – socialism.” The key terms are still here and would, in fact, be suitable for the next congress.

SYRIZA officials could not employ terms such as “popular power” or “socialism” for their central committee meeting on Sunday, for these had already been pinched by KKE. “Hope” was, needless to say, a nonstarter (although nothing can stop PASOK or New Democracy from appropriating it in the future).

SYRIZA officials eventually picked three self-affirming verbs in first person plural: “We fight | We persist | We can.” The main slogan was spelled out, in bigger fonts, in the second line: “We move on, together.”

But are we really moving on? And, if so, in what direction are we moving? Any direction is dictated by endless compromises. This was admitted by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, although he did say that “in the wake of the Malta agreement, we see the end of supervision down the road.” And then there is the “together” part. Who are all these people moving together?

Is it the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks (ANEL) coalition? It is unlikely, since very few people (barring Tsipras himself) seem enthusiastic about it. Could it be the different groupings and factions inside SYRIZA? That would be contradicted by the critical manifesto issued by the 13 central committee members. Finally, it could be invoking the connection between the government and the people. But such a connection is confirmed neither by polls nor by everyday experience.

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