Curing PASOK’s ills

When Kathimerini forecast political turmoil after the flurry of scandal allegations last April, many said the prediction was exaggerated. Today, the facts speak for themselves: Resignations of government officials, a state of chaos within the ruling party, and the prime minister’s preparations for the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle which is sure to spark fresh discord. Even the government acknowledges the crisis – a crisis that was not the product of conspiracy after all. Instead, it is an internal one. It has its roots in the contradictions of the system that has been built over the years, a result of PASOK’s incomplete transformation from a protest movement into a political party. The Socialist party never fully modernized its structure, a fact that still haunts it today. A half-finished construction, PASOK never managed to rid itself of childhood ailments. As a result, PASOK has been left with an inconsistent administrative system that lacks internal cohesion and steady principles. The end product is a mishmash of nouveau riche and populist elements, a mixture of free market and statist traits that trumpets its democratic credentials but which, at the same time, defends oligarchic structures. Worse, due to its long stay in power, the party has managed to pass this model onto society. These paradoxes are the source of PASOK’s current crisis – a structural, existential crisis that cannot be remedied with managerial-type solutions. If PASOK really wants to overcome the crisis, it must admit these paradoxes and the social and economic problems that they have created. Before anything else, PASOK must first find a cure for its own ills. If it stops at achieving a provisional ceasefire within the party, its contradictions are bound to intensify, sparking even worse crises.

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