Tearing up the map

Tearing up the map

Why does Alexis Tsipras do the things he does, such as having SYRIZA abstain from any votes in Parliament until the elections? Perhaps he cannot do otherwise, because of his character and because he remains in awe of the glorious, “unyielding struggles” of the past which inspire him. Tsipras and others of like mind want to portray themselves as heirs of a Left which was forced to struggle in a hostile environment, where abnormal political circumstances presented problems but also provided opportunities to tackle superior forces.

Having won his revolutionary “stripes” in his teenage years, in a stable and democratic environment, Tsipras remains trapped in rhetorical hyperbole and outdated practices. He has become a caricature of those whom he admired, while not facing any of the personal dangers that destroyed many of his predecessors. He and his comrades seem not to understand that abstentions, boycotting institutions, frequently leads to disastrous consequences for the protagonists, for the institutions, for the country. Constitutions and rules exist to help us find our way in difficult circumstances. When one side tears up the map, all are lost. 

It is no surprise, then, that Tsipras remains stuck in the Maoist mentality “there is great disorder… the situation is excellent.” There is a logic in this tactic, because the greater the disorder, the more vehemently Tsipras will condemn New Democracy as being responsible for it. In addition, as if we are still in the past, he and his comrades believe that the disorder benefits their party. Perhaps they reckon that childish actions will attract first-time voters.

It is, of course, a high-risk bet for the party to invest almost exclusively in criticizing the government for the surveillance scandal in the hope that new revelations and the government’s handling of the issue will justify this tactic. But it reveals a lack of policy, highlighting the fact that SYRIZA remains a protest party which found itself in power in a period of great instability, due to the mistakes of others and its own opportunism. 

But we must also ask ourselves why we criticize SYRIZA so much, in an almost one-sided way. Perhaps it is because even as he claims to fight for democracy, Tsipras is undermining its rules. Perhaps it is because we hope that someday the country will get an opposition that has a serious strategy and proposals, with an understanding of the world that we live in.

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