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Politics is the art of the possible

26 July 2012 / 12:07:59  GRReporter
9088 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The leader of the Liberal Alliance Grigoris Vallianatos is one of the most famous and controversial figures in Greek political and social life. He has been an activist for human rights for years and has never hid his sexual identity. In an interview for GRReporter he presented the party's position on the situation in Greece, the government, social issues, and some taboo topics as well, that other parties do not dare even to name.

Mr. Vallianatos, what do you think is the reason for the rise of SYRIZA?

I think SYRIZA figured out how to benefit from the discontent and unfortunately they figured it out in the populist manner to which we in Greece are greatly used to. The party is expressing a very blurry political ideology about the economy. In fact, it never managed to answer the question why the so-called second world fell apart. It also failed to recover from the crisis in the 1990s so as to be able to submit a new proposal for the economy.

The second element is that the inability to present an alternative economic policy, leads you to populism. It is easy to be a humanist, a defender of minorities, of rights, to be an ordinary, "leftist" person, if we assume that all this can be concentrated when there is no economic proposal.

I have many years of experience as an activist and a participant in various movements of the civil society. There I have collaborated with people with leftist convictions as well, with whom we share the same vision for society. Our conversations, however, always break down at the very moment this vision begins to have a budget. After all these years, this experience has led me to the following "bitter" conclusion: that these people have no sense of the economy and therefore are dangerous in the company. And if not dangerous in it, they are dangerous in politics.

On the other hand, however, entire generations of Greeks have grown up with the economic vision of PASOK and its leader Andreas Papandreou. And it stated "Give the people everything", as his phrase to the then-Finance Minister Dimitris Tsovolas has remained in history. These simplifications are the Erinyes that are haunting us.

Thus, SYRIZA was able to take advantage of the people's disappointment, frustration and anger caused by the huge failure of both major parties. And, in order to be bad from the very beginning, let me say that, if the greatest responsibility for the economy belongs to PASOK and New Democracy, the left party also has a large part of it, but it is not yet time to discuss this part. On the other hand, however, we can also suppose that this time has come, yet in a very dramatic manner. This time has come because the left party was leading the cultural life, the universities and the way of expression. And this way of expression is a populist one, blindly leftist and hopeless.

The leftist party must be blamed also for the rise of the far right. Leftists are so extreme in their aims, and it is difficult to discuss with them, for example, what immigration is, that their simplified to a minimum positions belong to the Nazis. And this is one of the big problems we are facing now.

How do you see the government's actions up to now and how long do you think it will last?

The best representatives of both failed major parties are involved in the government, but also the worst of them. There are ministers, such as Kostis Hatzigakis, Yiannis Stournaras and Antonis Manitakis, but there are also others who are hindering things. Although a successful university professor and an expert in his field, Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis does not seem to understand things. He is just so "fed" with left theory that he is simply unable to cope with his task.

Yiannis Stournaras has the advantage of a person who has parted from PASOK for a long time now and currently nobody is able to make remarks about his actions. As chairman of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, he presented before us real measurements of the actual state of affairs. Kostis Hadzidakis is also a successful choice and understands things, but at the same time people like him are a nominal minority in New Democracy.

Thus, this government is in a state of war of nerves, which includes most of the main bodies of New Democracy and PASOK, but not the Democratic Left. They don't want the changes because they don't know how to live with these changes. Of course, among them there are also people, who don't believe that the changes will bring positive results.

At the same time the opposition is doing everything possible for the government to fail. I don't believe that it can cope with the situation because the party "burden" is preventing it from starting to "swim." In this sense I think it will last until December.

I think the efforts of the Democratic Left are heroic. The party has already learned and is already paying the price for the fact that political forces have to enter into a coalition. It seems that it is also starting to understand what the economy is. And this brings hope to the rest of the Left party as well, so that the others can begin dealing with real life as well.

Ayn Rand's theory of objective individualism lies in the platform of the Liberal Alliance. Tell us about it.

The Liberal Alliance is a new party, that has existed since 2007. Liberal thought, however, is ancient, so our efforts in Greece are twofold: On one hand, to remind people that our history hasn’t allowed us to go through the Renaissance, and in this way to dispel all the amazing legends and conspiracy theories in which some modern Greeks still believe. The other has a purely political dimension.

Tags: Politics Liberal Alliance Grigoris Vallianatos taboo topics human rights minorities
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