SYRIZA is feeling the pain of its transformation from a revolutionary party to a systemic one and, what’s more, to a party of the European mainstream, and this is a problem that the party chief, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, will have to manage. It was Tsipras who elevated the people’s expectations to such lofty levels; its was Tsipras who oversaw the process that led to a “compromise” in Brussels; finally, it was Tsipras who tried to change the way that Europe acts toward our bankrupt country – with little success.
SYRIZA’s biggest advantage over the mainstream Greek parties is that the left is extremely durable when it comes to discussions and analyses. Yesterday’s meeting of the parliamentary group lasted more than 10 hours, with Tsipras having to explain himself the entire time. The difference with his predecessor, conservative Premier Antonis Samaras, was that the latter would announce his decisions to his party’s MPs.
The kind of language of compromise that is coming from Brussels is peculiar, but it is thanks to the fact that it is vague and incomprehensible – to the layman – that a convergence of sorts has been reached between Athens and the eurozone, which has allowed all parties to save face and for everyone to seem like a winner in their respective countries.
On the surface it appears that the new agreement is aimed at enforcing certain terms of the memorandum that have fallen to the wayside over the past five years. Cracking down on tax evasion and clamping down on corruption and vested interests are measures our creditors had demanded from the start that were never enforced.
Under pressure to secure financing, the coalition government of SYRIZA and Independent Greeks has only one option: to complete the memorandum and to iron out the political and economic kinks that have amassed over decades. SYRIZA’s role as a systemic force in Europe is to crush the Metapolitefsi establishment which formed in the period after the fall of the dictatorship, which is what the lenders wanted to see done as soon as Greece entered the bailout program.
Of course SYRIZA also has its voters to think about and the battle on this front does not promise to be bloodless. But the problem is that Greece has no money and cannot meet its commitments in the coming months as Brussels has said that no more funds will be released unless its terms are met.
We shouldn’t jump the gun. The system is flexible and the first order of business is for the eurozone’s parliaments to approve the agreement. The only thing that’s certain in the meantime is that the nightmare is not over for Greece.