PASOK and the Trojans

PASOK has much hard work ahead following the 8th party conference, which ended on Sunday, part of which is to prove that it is not one of C.P. Cavafy’s Trojans: «Our efforts are the efforts of the unfortunate; our efforts are like those of the Trojans. We succeed somewhat; we regain confidence somewhat; and we start once more to have courage and high hopes. But something always happens and stops us.» From the chant of party supporters in 2004 «George go ahead and change everything» to last week’s «diagnosis» by Mimis Androulakis that «the president [of PASOK] is crazy,» the opposition party has suffered four heavy defeats (in national, municipal and European parliamentary elections) and failed on numerous «new beginnings.» Its enthusiasm has always been short-lived, possibly because it was frivolous or forced, and one cycle of self-destruction has led to another. PASOK has not capitalized on any of the government’s mistakes, nor has it really convinced even its own supporters. Only polls can now show how superficial today’s fresh burst of enthusiasm is and how much it will bring PASOK voters back into the fold. But, there is little comfort to be gained from the loud applause of the party delegates when Papandreou announced that all former PASOK ministers and deputy ministers will be precluded from the party’s political council. Apart from the fact that this «strategy of renewal» merely strengthens Papandreou’s grip over the party, it also renounces, in the most official way, the policy exercised by PASOK during its many years in power. The rationale – ideological, political, moral or just aesthetic (to bring in «new faces») – has not been explained. So, maybe Cavafy’s fears are justified: «Our efforts are like those of the Trojans. We think that with resolution and daring, we will alter the pull of destiny… But when the great crisis comes, our daring and our resolution vanish.»

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