Twenty years on

Two figures from the political left, but with two completely different backgrounds and different outlooks, have reminded us that the left is not a single entity and, moreover, has plenty of skeletons in its cupboard – indie leftist Pericles Korovesis, currently a parliamentary deputy for SYRIZA, and Leonidas Kyrkos, of the mainstream left. Korovesis has shaken the political firmament by reiterating what had already been circulating in the press and coffee shops since 1989-90 regarding major Siemens-Intracom digital technology orders with generous kickbacks. As the Siemens scandal drags the political system further into a maelstrom of derision, Korovesis has been providing painful reminders of a time that was a historic landmark for Greece, a period of three months when Kyrkos’s Greek Left (EAR) party and Harilaos Florakis’s Communist Party of Greece governed in an alliance with Constantine Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party and brought PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou before a special court. Today’s Left Coalition, an offshoot of that once united left, is calling for Korovesis’s head, not only for regurgitating unfounded rumors of bribery, but above all because he has revived memories of the bad old days that no one in the Left Coalition, particularly the reformists and mainstream, wants to remember. The left bears full political responsibility for the acts to which it consented or tolerated at that time. It is precisely this heritage of selective amnesia and opportunistic deals that Kyrkos has been reminding us of. «That is not the left, Alexis,» cried Kyrkos to SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras last year. The other day, Kyrkos wrote that both Tsipras and Left Coalition leader Alekos Alavanos were incompetent and the only solution was an alliance with PASOK. Kyrkos knows what the 1989 left was about; now, just substitute George Papandreou for Mitsotakis.