Editorial: The shame of the Left
The Left was once in the frontline in the defence of democratic values, and was the first to go to battle, with personal sacrifices in confronting all manner of autarchic thinking and practices. Now that it is in power, the cadres that manage that power not only demean their ideas in order to keep their offices.
A basic characteristic of a democracy is the separation of powers. For the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government, however, that is a minor detail that does not concern them.
Despite the efforts of some to persuade that they have changed, and despite caressing European Social Democracy, in their views and political behaviour they remain dedicated to their slogans “It’s either us or them” and “Either we finish them off or they finish us off”.
Hence, the statements of Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis before SYRIZA’s Central Committee did not come out of the blue, nor were they a slip of the tongue. «We will win the elections if we put someone in jail – we should put some people in jail,» he said. It is not the first time that he unleashes threats and takes an undemocratic turn. Indeed, he has been awarded by Mr. Tsipras for such behaviour, retaining his portfolio in all cabinet reshuffles.
The odd thing is that we have grown accustomed to this unacceptable and undemocratic hysteria. The various institutions linked to the independent judiciary, which is turned into a tool by ministers and MPs, usually tolerate and remain silent about the provocations to which they are subjected. The country’s bar associations, which are usually loquacious when it comes to their own trade unionist demands, are unconcerned when fundamental democratic rights are trampled over.
The Left was once in the frontline in the defence of democratic values, and was the first to go to battle, with personal sacrifices in confronting all manner of autarchic thinking and practices. Now that it is in power, the cadres that manage that power not only demean their ideas in order to keep their offices, but also engage in deeply undemocratic practices.
There have been polarizing disputes in other cases in the past. However, the political vulgarity, the daily divisive rhetoric, and the undemocratic mentality that we are witnessing today exceed by far the extreme clashes of the past. The mealy-mouthed criticism of Mr. Polakis’ comrades do not constitute a substantial differentiation.
From the moment that Mr. Tsipras tolerates his minister and rewards him, he is co-responsible.
It is truly degrading when a party that came to power with promises that it would rid the country of the dark moments of the last four decades, adopts practices and outlooks that are reminiscent of the darkest moments of our history.