Time to take a stand

Greece is obviously experiencing the clash of two rival forces.

The old-timers? camp has brought together unionists, party apparatchiks, some media companies, as well as banks and entrepreneurs. These people and companies are used to operating by way of political favors, kickbacks and murky dealings. They are used to being allowed to conduct their activities beyond the control of the state. One must understand that they were all part of the same system, and it was in their interest to cover for each other.

The powers of yesteryear now have good reason to be worried. They want to maintain the status quo. They want to continue to operate without restrictions and controls. They are concerned about the idea of international inspectors who will install a new system that will make it impossible to live off commissions from state procurements or to grant huge loans to dodgy clients.

These forces have shrewdly portrayed the struggle in ideological terms. They say this war is about safeguarding Greece?s national sovereignty and that they are here to protect the people from suffering.

On the other side of the battlefield stand the nation?s healthy forces who are fighting hard to make ends meet. They are on their own. They want order restored in the markets because they can no longer stand being stifled by those same banks that keep funding their acolytes. They are not wary of measures aimed at modernizing the country because they have confidence in Greece as well as themselves — provided that the rules are clean and the game is not fixed.

The question, of course, is what the country?s politicians will choose to do. Most of them have emerged from and been molded by that same ailing system that for years fed and embraced them. If they take the beaten path, they will try to cover up any wrongdoing and reach a deal with the rest of the players of the old system.

But can they afford to do that? Controls are becoming tighter and at some point politicians will have to decide where they stand: Do they want to save the country or do they wish to protect their political allies?

Times are tough for Greece?s politicians, especially those who see that the rules of the game — a game they knew all too well — have changed.