OPINION

Marx and snow chains

There are one or two beliefs we cling to tenaciously – that our team is the best and the only one not favored by the referee; that our village is the most beautiful one in Greece (and hence in the world); and that the Meteorological Service (EMY) is always wrong. The statistics may confirm what a decent memory should be able to retain, that EMY is rarely wrong, but that doesn’t stop us from being stubborn. Private individuals and organizations (municipalities, ministries and services) hear the ominous forecasts and smirk. But when the forecasts prove true, we resort to our stereotypes. «There’s no State,» wail private individuals and citizens in unison. «The state mechanism is working to perfection,» boast the managers and ministers. Of course the state mechanism «worked to perfection» in all its manifestations. It showed absolute respect for its tradition of unpreparedness, woeful coordination and shifting the blame from one level of local government to another. There’s nothing unprecedented about that, or about the behavior of those who not only believe their team is the best but that their car is the most powerful in the world, especially when they put superalloy wheels and fat tires on it. «I’ll get through,» they said in rebellious spirit to the police who warned them, and on they went like [the war of liberation hero] Kolokotronis on horseback without chains, only to founder half a kilometer down the road and resort to their other great love, the cell phone, on which they denounced the «absent State» on numerous TV programs. The luckier ones were consoled by the visits of party leaders who suddenly adopted the role of the reporter and swarmed over the mountains. But those in the know insist that Marx was not referring to snow chains when he said that the only thing the proletariat had to lose when they rose up was their chains.