The so-called theory of the two extremes, equating the violence of the left with that of the right, emerged almost simultaneously with the crackdown on neofascist party Golden Dawn by the New Democracy and PASOK coalition government in September 2013, along with the notion that some parties belong to the “constitutional arc” and other ideas in the same spirit.
A notion that has emerged today is for the creation of some pro-European political formation or other that will help eradicate the risk of Greece being ousted from the eurozone, an idea that is irresponsibly put forward by government officials every so often. While we can believe that the people who came up with this idea are guided by the best of intentions, we must warn that it could have the exact opposite result of that desired.
To begin with, the distinction between pro-European and anti-European parties establishes an extremely dangerous dichotomy that does not reflect the prevalent trend in society, where more than 80 percent of Greeks and two in three SYRIZA supporters believe that Greece should reach a deal with the European Union, according to a poll conducted for Mega TV.
On a practical level, moreover, a so-called coalition of pro-European forces would essentially mean some form of partnership between New Democracy, Potami and PASOK, something that is quite unlikely to have any productive outcome. PASOK has effectively disappeared as a political force but as a mechanism remains statist. We have also seen the kind of tension that its pairing with New Democracy produced during the previous coalition government. Mainly, though, it would enhance the popularity of SYRIZA, which, by its nature, includes voters from both camps. This is quite similar to PASOK’s first phase, after which it ruled for more than 20 years.
Finally, the entire strategy could collapse before it even got off the ground properly if the government of Alexis Tsipras reaches some kind of deal with the country’s creditors, something that should be desired by every sensible citizen, irrespective of their political preferences.
Given that PASOK’s fate has become completely irrelevant and because Potami is just a loose and still under construction coalition of forces, the average center-right citizen, the conservative, who was surprised by SYRIZA’s rise to power, is watching developments with mounting concern and hoping for a positive outcome to the ongoing negotiations.
The traditional rift between the forces of the right and the left has gone far enough and there is no need to widen it with the introduction of distinctions between pro- and anti-Europeans. If there is a break between Greece and the eurozone and disaster strikes, none of the current protagonists of the Greek political scene will have a role to play. So what the country needs is patience and calm.