New Democracy’s burden

Greek politicians celebrate the 30th anniversary since the restoration of democracy, they rightly mock at the pitiful group of colonels – and they attempt to distort history by making no reference to the causes which brought about the collapse of the old order on April 21, 1967. The political system was disintegrating. The right-wing National Radical Union (ERE) was leaderless after Constantine Karamanlis left for Paris, the Center Union was mired in internal strife, Andreas Papandreou, on the strength of his father’s name, was hatching amateurish conspiracies, and the United Democratic Left (EDA) was unable to rally the leftist forces and came into direct confrontation with the establishment. The country’s political leaders failed to tackle the crisis – which they had largely caused – and the period from 1965 to the spring of 1967 saw a perilous radicalization of the broader Left and the extreme Right. The winner of the conflict was, of course, the group of the colonels and the army tanks of Stylianos Pattakos. It is rarely mentioned these days that the dictators toppled an ERE government led by Panayiotis Kanellopoulos, who was placed under arrest. The colonels imposed a dictatorship, shattering the old regime and the monarchy, claiming to be rescuing Greece from the Left. What they finally achieved was to impose the ideological, cultural and political hegemony of the Left. The Left cannot be faulted for struggling to promote its own beliefs. But the party of the «social center» and the «middle ground» must inject a renewed self-confidence, set up a recognizable ideological system, and put forward a specific cultural and education policy. The vast majority of the people who voted it into power cannot continue to be sidelined by the ideological domination of a recycled Left. Leaders of the conservative faction will be held accountable.