Mobilization of despair

It does indeed demand innovative thinking to comment, as Prime Minister Costas Simitis did on Thursday, that «elections in Greece are definitively decided at sunset on election day,» though it may be worth noting in passing that the same applies to every country where elections are conducted under a relatively free regime. This maxim shows that Simitis continues to believe the results of public opinion polls are distorted. He thinks a mobilization has been declared because the 65-member Election Campaign Committee includes Theodoros Pangalos, Gerasimos Arsenis and Theodoros Tsoukatos, whom he himself has rejected at different times in the past. It is perfectly understandable why these three politicians, who do not belong to the original PASOK, responded to the invitation, but Simitis’s decision simply denotes awkwardness and weakness. One might go on to analyze the meaning of Costas Laliotis’s insistence on staying out of PASOK’s last election campaign under Simitis, but delving into the internal business of a party which is heading for defeat after 20 years in power could certainly be a tedious undertaking. «Our aim is to keep the public informed,» said Simitis, presumably meaning that the Greek public is an assembly of idiots who do not understand everyday reality and are thus in need of enlightenment. Simitis could have withdrawn from politics before it was discovered that: * The entry of Greece into the «hard core» of the European Union would simply confirm the huge gap separating the country from its EU partners. * The introduction of the euro would be used as a means of profiteering by certain so-called productive circles, and that it would bring numerous Greeks to the verge of despair. * The privatization of companies under state control would be discredited, because in practice it means selling off public assets and covering up deficits. * The folly of taking on the 2004 Olympic Games, and the fact that this new «national goal» would gradually reveal the entanglement and economic chaos which the next government will have to tackle. These are the circumstances in which Simitis and his mobilization of the desperate will fight the elections. Simitis pretended to be a reformer and that his main opponent was the party of PASOK. PASOK will survive; but what will collapse will be the notion of modernization which has made Greece a synonym for entanglement and corruption.