The crisis is political

The crisis began as a financial one but soon revealed itself to be of a complex political and social nature as well. With elections looming on the horizon, the Americans reacted to the early days of the crisis politically by electing an administration that promised political change. In Europe, the left bore the brunt of calls for change: Its traditional party structures were rattled, split and then regrouped. This happened in France, Italy and Greece. Despite its corroded state, the European left is still a barometer of political upheaval. When societies struggle to hold on to their jobs, quality of life and social services, those in power have a duty to provide them with real answers. Yet they cannot, because these new questions require new answers and these have not yet been found. A veteran minister of three PASOK opposition administrations, Alekos Papadopoulos, spoke in dramatic tones yesterday of a political, systemic problem, and he is not some great visionary but a practical and modest center-left politician. It appears that, even in a weakened PASOK, there are those concerned about the depth of the political crisis. Synaspismos Left Coalition, a party more vulnerable to crises, showed its two selves clashing at its convention. In reference to the widespread riots of last December, the moderate element of the party lashed out against the more radical one. One side is eyeing the seat of power, as the other looks at collective mobilization. The one is seeking participation in government, the other to lead the popular opposition. The clash in the left reveals opposing trends, but also the strength of the political crisis and its unprecedented structural manifestations. Society, which is already in a state of flux and burdened by the international capitalist crisis, needs a solid point of reference. The parties that are in power appear incapable of reshaping themselves into anything other than what began the crisis in the first place, while the left is experiencing an existential crisis. All we can do is wait and see.

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