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The fine science of breaking the law, the democratic way

By Paschos Mandravelis

Even breaking the law sometimes requires a special touch, but during the years of the Left’s ideological hegemony, it was honed down to a science.

The recipe is simple: a group of people – usually representing specific interests – denounces a law that has been ratified in Parliament as being “unenforceable” and then simply refuses to abide by it.

In that rare event that the authorities do try to enforce legislation that aims to punish the offenders, leftist politicians will most likely whinge that the government is trying to “criminalize the struggle of the people” – meaning the struggle of a specific interest group.

If that group happens to enjoy media access it will most probably come up with a few elaborate articles regarding the constitutionality of the law that impinges upon its rights, call for “political disobedience” and finally invoke Article 120 of the Constitution, which entrusts its protection “against anyone that tries to breach it by force” to the patriotic sentiment of the Greek people.

To be sure, Greek constitutional lawmakers have factored in the possibility of a military coup, but in a country where concepts often lose their meaning, the voting of laws by a majority is easily denounced by some as a “coup” and every state decision is readily interpreted as “violence” – particularly in cases where certain groups lose their privileges.

The same scenario was played out recently by the country’s intellectual elite: university rectors. In a bid to rescue the clientelist system that installed them in power, they named themselves – together with that small group of students with political affiliations whose job it is to manipulate their peers into acting and voting in a particular way – the “academic community.” After that, they did everything in their power to sabotage elections for governing councils at the country’s universities. In the process, they turned a blind eye to the bullying suffered by professors who dared to take part in the vote.

When the vote eventually did take place, electronically and without the threat of raids, the high turnout rate (between 75 and 95 percent) exposed the skeptics who then began to question the very procedure. Once they made sufficient fools of themselves, their ideological stewards spoke out against what they labelled “techno-fascism.”

At the University of the Aegean a small group of politically-affiliated students (apparently the same people who recently covered university walls with intimidating posters against professors) broke down the door protecting the university’s computer equipment and, after threatening the staff, shut down the server.

As a result, the university was left without Internet and telephone access (that would perhaps make a more accurate definition of techno-fascism). And yet, if we are to believe officials of the SYRIZA party on the island of Lesvos “the cancellation of elections for the administrative councils of the University of the Aegean shows that the law cannot be implemented when it runs into the universal reaction of the academic community.”

But how can these veterans of the post-dictatorship era, better known here as the “metapolitefsi,” be so certain about the “universal reaction of the academic community” when the voter turnout was between 75 and 95 percent?

The biggest problem for SYRIZA is not the idiotic comments occasionally uttered by party officials. These can only challenged by means of democratic dialogue. The more fundamental problem is the dictatorial tactics with which it chooses to impose the will of a minority upon the majority. And if anyone were to point out that fascism is not defined by party colors but by the violation of popular will, they would be immediately denounced as “fascist.” They would then accused of equating right-wing with left-wing violence or, worse, of whitewashing the far-right Golden Dawn party, whose deputies find that they have the right and authority to check the personal information of immigrant vendors, while at the same time members of SYRIZA are busy democratically inspecting those of police officers.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday November 15, 2012 (20:44)  
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