If Greece did actually have a European establishment as those who claim to represent it like to delude themselves, then it should be celebrating that the coalition of such diverse political parties created by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has taken such a huge step toward adjusting to European normality. However, there is no such establishment to speak of, though this does not cancel out the resounding victory of the European system over the reactionaries in ruling leftist SYRIZA and its junior coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL). It also serves to remind us that adaptation is the key to survival not just in the animal kingdom and the kingdom of men, but also among nations and especially in politics.
All of this can be dismissed as general theorizing, but the important fact is that Tsipras secured his remainder in government unhindered – irrespective of what that means for the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition – until August 2018, when the current bailout program expires. No prime minister over the course of the seven-year crisis has had such a luxury.
Given that the most recent austerity and reform measures that were passed – through the end of the crucial year of 2018 – mostly affect social groups that are not friendly to the leftist party, Tsipras will have no qualms about implementing them. Mainly, though, he will engage in an all-out attack against the “reformists” of New Democracy and PASOK who wielded power in the past. His list is a long one too and we can bet that we will be seeing a lot more special investigation committees in Parliament. Files packed with real or nonexistent sins from the past will be dusted off and put in the hands of the justice system. And left-wing rhetoric will dominate on issues that have nothing to do with the essence of the financial commitments that have been made in order to stem the leakage of support.
Trying to contain their own potential losses, there are those who lambast the government for making the step toward “European normality” – a term used by each party in varying tones, depending on what kind of voter it’s trying to impress.
What all these discussions ignore is that European normality is not defined on the basis of whatever clientelist ties a party is pandering to, but is restricted exclusively to the level of the Eurogroup, which, in its efforts to completely raze a decrepit economic system, has made good use of the ammunition provided to it by every government in the past seven years.