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The tripartite coalition will not disintegrate easily

02 October 2012 / 21:10:39  GRReporter
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For me, the rise of Golden Dawn is not necessarily a rise of neo-Nazism. It is rather an increase in the voice of the people's protest against the developments. At this point, I think that the question of Golden Dawn’s ideology is secondary.

The members of Golden Dawn make every effort to hide their ideology too but it is a reality. What could it bring?

It's not just the attacks of the members of Golden Dawn - chasing illegal immigrants, breaking up their stalls, etc. The dangerous thing in my opinion is that violence against any opponent establishes its identity in the minds of a large part of the society. We have seen in recent days how this united far left formations and subsequent clashes with the far right followed. I am afraid that we will witness small "civil wars." Only political and economic stabilization of the country can put an end to this phenomenon.

Do you think the police plan to catch illegal immigrants provides a solution to the problem?

Firstly, I should say that it has yielded one result. Athens today is very different from what it was in the early summer. Beyond a doubt it should be clear who the people who live in the city centre are.

However, there is the question about the conditions in detention centres and what happens to immigrants after that. So far, there is no clear answer to this question. It is not clear how the country of origin of each immigrant will be determined and what procedures will be triggered to return him or her there. All this raises concerns that the centres for temporary detention could become centres for long-term detention with unpredictable consequences. But, on the other hand, it is not possible for all these people to walk aimlessly in the streets under these conditions of high unemployment, some of them being involved in petty, and others in more serious, crimes. By this, I mean that the police plan solves the problem, but not completely.

You are following closely the developments in PASOK. Do you think the party will be able to regain its previous response among the public as the exponent of the centre-left space?

I think it is very difficult. It is not only because of the bad election results, but mostly because there is no response among young people. Currently PASOK is expressing people, bearing the atmosphere of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

It is not only PASOK’s problem but of the entire centre-left space from the perspective that it is not clear what it offers in times of severe austerity and minimal chances for the implementation of the so-called "left politics". The coming years do not allow Greece to apply such a model. Therefore, all that space must think over what it wants to express and explain its proposal within today's conditions. My fear is that if they continue with the existing ideological framework, they will fall into despair. The old theory that we redistribute the wealth of the country sounds just like a joke at present. It is simply because there is no wealth and no one is able to implement a social policy in the presence of a decayed public sector. So, it is necessary to hold discussions and take decisions that might be in contrast to the ideological framework of the left. It must decide what it will propose as a model of development of Greece after things get back to their normal. Currently, any vision for this is lacking.

We have seen many protests taking place lately but the attendance may be defined as weak. What is the reason for this?
I think there are three reasons for this. The first is that people are convinced of their desire to keep Greece in the euro zone, as indicated by all opinion polls and despite the crisis. It is gradually becoming clear that this is the purpose of these tough negotiations. I think it meant simply a cut in income for the majority of people before that. They did not believe anything was threatening the country. Now, the majority of people realize that the country is on the brink of collapse.

The second is the feeling that the protests do not yield results. The previous economic measures were adopted in 2010 and 2011, the same is expected to happen with the new ones.

The third reason is that during some protests, the clashes were so fierce that many people who want to protest do not want to be associated with such acts.

I think the movement of protesters no longer exists in practice at the level of street protests. Unfortunately, it has moved to another level. Many people have given up making any effort, they have no incentive to work and create, and I think this is more dangerous than holding several violent demonstrations.

What is the role of the media in this situation?

Their influence is very strong. I disapprove of their position from the beginning of the crisis to today. It is quite clear that their policies and positions are determined by the role they expect to play the "next day" and how they can survive. It's easy to declare yourself in favour of denial and protest and to self-proclaim a colour-bearer, in charge of communications of this movement.

But this is not the role of the media. They must be objective and unfortunately, very few Greek media fall into this category and the large ones are not among them for sure.

Another problem is the misconception among journalists that they need to be commentators as well, that they need to present their personal political positions. Cases of fair and balanced information presented are rather an exception in the Greek media. I would say that we often prefer to read articles in foreign media than in the Greek ones.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyTripartite coalitionProtestsYiannis Koutsomitis
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