OPINION

Civil war or political suicide?

Kostas Simitis’s diagnosis regarding PASOK’s political malaise was spot-on. The party, the prime minister said, must fight social discrimination, vested and factional interests, and conservative mentalities. «At the moment the party fails to serve this role,» he told his Executive Bureau on Monday. We should concentrate on PASOK’s four enemies, as these were enunciated by the prime minister. When we talk about social discrimination these days, we are not, of course, referring to the plutocracy of the right. After 20 years of near-continual Socialist rule, the privileged class that controls Greece’s social and economic capital is the class that has the most dealings with the State. These dealings have also given birth to tangled political and business relations between the new plutocracy and the party officials responsible for the public purse. The factional interests that Simitis mentioned have a similar party identity. It is estimated that more than 150,000 jobs in the civil service and public corporations are accounted for by PASOK officials. This army of state-dependent executives nourishes the perpetuation of their party in power and the undisturbed possession and distribution of state offices. And Simitis does not decry any of this consolidation of factional interests. Finally, we should note that social discrimination, vested and factional interests primarily concern the «haves.» They are the ones who are pervaded by a conservative mentality, and who view their privileged position – which they owe to their party allegiance and not to their personal qualifications – as a vested right. Whom within his party is Simitis trying to agitate and, most essentially, against whom is he trying to incite them? In declaring this war, Simitis is pushing his cadres toward civil strife – or rather, political suicide.