Compass or weathercock?

There are two sorts of anniversaries – those related to pleasant, glorious and memorable events and those related to unpleasant, dark or gruesome ones. We celebrate the former by paying tribute to heroes and acts that we deem exemplary for the present and the future. The latter, also known as «black anniversaries,» are used to repudiate incidents or people so as to avoid similar experiences in the future. Indeed, where does one classify the 29th anniversary of PASOK’s September 3 founding declaration? Surely, no one would classify it in the first category. Not only were PASOK’s founding principles never implemented in practice – they were actually renounced by the early Socialist governments. Not one of those celebrating today would dare to retrieve precepts from that famous document nor make any claims to ideological continuity. Interestingly, during the eight-year rule of Costas Simitis, we have heard repeated calls for PASOK’s «reorganization,» «refoundation,» «rebirth,» and, more recently, «reform.» All four notions underscore that the ruling party is in a process of degeneration and decline. The above admittance is in reference to the September 3 declaration which, nevertheless, is still the founding charter of PASOK’s ideas, since no one has ever dared to question or update it. So what is PASOK celebrating today and to whom is it paying tribute? Is it the 1981 slogan «Change,» a mantra that has long degenerated into «Exchange»? Or are today’s libations being paid to the September 3 declaration? Rather than using it as a compass, the ruling party has rather treated the document as a weathercock. In place of either a bright or a black anniversary, one can still choose silence and oblivion. This would seem preferable for PASOK’s celebrating politicians – old and young.

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