Unpleasant duty

This should be an historic day for PASOK. The newly-installed chairman of the Socialist party, who is also the son of its founder Andreas Papandreou, will announce the main political and ideological platforms of a new PASOK. It’s an important day, not because George Papandreou will reveal the basic, as yet undisclosed, ideas and principles but because this text will, according to pro-PASOK press, effectively replace the September 3, 1974 declaration of the party’s founding principles. Indeed, in the 30 years since its birth, PASOK has taken no steps to update or alter its founding charter. Many people now in their 30s or 40s are probably unaware that the 1974 declaration defined PASOK as a Third World type socialist party that flirted with the one-party, one-man-rule style of government after the model of Khadafy, Tito and Hoxha, and envisaged the abolition of Greece’s ties with the West and withdrawal from NATO and the EEC. Young people are fortunate not to have experienced the implementation of the manifesto. When PASOK came to power, it distanced itself from the declaration’s principles, particularly in the area of foreign affairs and the economy. In truth, PASOK ruled the country for 20 years without being guided by a clear, rigid set of ideological and political beliefs. This is the bitter truth for the party. As a result, the guiding framework that Papandreou is set to present today will not replace the 1974 declaration, simply because it never existed. In fact, Papandreou is called upon to fill a 30-year gap and put an end to PASOK’s ideological disarray. This is a belated and crucial task that cannot be accompanied by fanfare and drum-beating. The famous declaration will be replaced in silence, as an unpleasant duty.